As trusted economists and policy advisors to business and government leaders, the Council relies on sound, evidence-based analysis to inform its policy recommendations. Through diligent tracking of BC’s economic performance, we help identify the opportunities and challenges the province must navigate in order to reach its full potential.
B.C. manufacturing sector expanding…but faces headwinds
Manufacturing is an important and sometimes underemphasized part of the British Columbia economy.
RELEASE: B.C. economy continues to post solid growth
Amid solid global growth and a booming U.S. economy, the British Columbia economy is in good shape and will continue to grow at a respectable, albeit more moderate, pace over the next two years. B.C.’s real GDP growth is expected to be in the 2.2% to 2.5% range for 2018 and 2019.
The end of money for nothing
The latest edition of the BC Economic Review and Outlooks examines the impact rising interest rates are having on the BC economy.
So far, so good...but proceed with caution: An update on B.C.'s fiscal picture
Last month, B.C. Finance Minister Carole James wrapped up the NDP’s first full financial year and provided an update on the government’s books through the first quarter of 2018-2019. Here’s what you should know.
Guest Author: Breaking the cycle of poverty through education, partnership:
How the federal government’s new poverty reduction strategy calls upon British Columbians to act
Providing youth with quality education is critical to the federal poverty reduction strategy.
West coast wonders: B.C. & Washington cross border synergies and connections
Along with strong trade linkages, B.C. and Washington share many similarities.
Release: LNG Canada investment marks a clean start for economic growth
BCBC today welcomes the LNG Canada joint venture participants’ final investment decision to build an LNG export facility in Kitimat, B.C.
Energy production, consumption and trade: How Canada and B.C. stack up
If British Columbia or Canada ceased to exist tomorrow, the greenhouse gas emissions eliminated from energy production and consumption relative to the global total would be equivalent to a rounding error.
Finlayson Op-Ed: B.C. doesn’t have enough workers to meet industries’ demand (Black Press)
For those interested in the hottest job trends, the provincial government’s new Labour Market Outlook is worth a look.
Over the next decade, the government is forecasting a total of 903,000 job openings in B.C. More than 600,000 will result from current workers transitioning into retirement.
Many of these positions can be filled by younger cohorts of workers, but that won’t be enough to produce warm bodies for all of the expected vacancies.
Finlayson & Peacock Op-Ed: Why B.C. labour force participation is down in an up market (Business in Vancouver)
In an environment where jobs are plentiful, many employers are struggling to fill vacancies, and wages are rising, one would expect more people to be clamouring to join the work force. This is precisely what has happened in B.C. over the past couple of years: strong employment growth helped to push the labour force participation rate higher. By the end of 2017, 65.3 percent of the province’s working-age population was employed or actively seeking work, two percentage points higher than in 2015.
But the recent bump runs counter to the longer-term trend, which has seen the labour force participation rate drift lower. In fact, participation peaked in the early 1990s, when 67 percent of British Columbians over the age of 15 were in the workforce. This peak was reached even though the unemployment rate at the time was double the current level. Jobs were harder to find then, but a bigger slice of the population was part of the labour force.
Finlayson Op-Ed: 'Clean growth' is a nice idea, but policymakers shouldn't forget what really makes B.C. money (The Province)
Policymakers in Victoria have a lot more work to do if they are interested in strengthening the province’s export economy.
The provincial NDP government has pledged to develop a “clean growth strategy” to position the province for continued prosperity in a world where demand is increasing for products and technologies that reduce the impact of human activity on the environment. With a carbon-free electricity system and an array of local companies in the “clean tech” space, B.C. has some of the ingredients necessary for clean growth. But amid their enthusiasm for developing new industries, policymakers also need to pay close attention to the industries that pay the bills today.
Canadian, US business leaders announce joint framework for cross-border growth
Today, the Cascadia Innovation Corridor announced the formation of a binational steering committee composed of the region’s top business, research and community leaders. The Committee marks a step forward in growing the Cascadia Innovation Corridor into a cohesive, globally recognized hub of innovation and commerce.
Finlayson Op-Ed: Understanding the downward trend in unionization (Troy Media)
The arrival of another Labour Day provided an opportunity to reflect on the place of trade unions in our economy.
The unionization rate – sometimes called union density – measures the share of employees in the workforce who belong to a union.
In B.C., the rate has dropped significantly in recent decades. The trend has persisted through multiple business cycles and provincial governments of different political stripes. Today, about 30 per cent of workers in the province are union members, down from more than 40 per cent in the early 1980s.
Reflections on the Canadian house price boom
It is hard to imagine that Canadian house prices will continue to rise significantly faster than overall inflation and incomes. An extended period of weaker real Canadian house prices seems probable.
Statement from BCBC regarding Federal Court of Appeal ruling
The Business Council of British Columbia has released the following statement from President and Chief Executive Officer, Greg D’Avignon regarding this week’s ruling by the Federal Court of Appeal
For the past decade or so, amid readily available credit and ultra-low interest rates, Canadians have been piling up debt.
Finlayson & Peacock op-ed: Growing tax burden hurts B.C. business competitiveness (Business in Vancouver)
In many sectors of our economy, the cost of operating a business has risen significantly over the past several years due to provincial government policy decisions. For a typical business, the most visible government-driven cost increases have come via higher (and in some cases new) taxes and fees. Below we briefly discuss the most salient examples.
Finlayson Op-Ed: Time for a reality check about Canada’s exports (Troy Media & Black Press)
Industrial transitions don’t happen overnight. Nor do politicians generally have a decisive role in that evolution.
Finlayson & St-Laurent Op-Ed: Jobs and careers in the ‘fourth industrial revolution’ (Troy Media)
The work world is being transformed by rapidly evolving digital technologies as we march into what many are calling the “fourth industrial revolution.”
With disruptive technologies pushing the frontiers of automation, some of the comparative advantages humans traditionally have enjoyed relative to technology are eroding. Computers and learning-based algorithms have progressed beyond replacing repetitive, manual tasks with mechanical execution.
Williams Op-Ed: Will the kids be alright? It’s up to us. (Vancouver Sun)
Will the kids be alright? Will they prosper? These are questions all parents ponder. For a child born today, their standard of living during adulthood will hinge upon the success of their parents’ generation in raising per capita gross domestic product (GDP per person). Small shifts in the trend growth rate in GDP per person lead to substantial differences in living standards over the course of a generation.