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Vancouver To Lead Country in Economic Growth Again in 2016

Abbotsford-Mission and Victoria among top 10 fastest growing economies this year.

Ottawa, March 3, 2016—Following growth of close to 4 per cent last year, Vancouver will once again have the fastest growing metropolitan economy in Canada in 2016, with real GDP growth forecast to reach 3.3 per cent, according to The Conference Board of Canada’s Metropolitan Outlook: Winter 2016. Abbotsford-Mission and Victoria will be among the top 10 metropolitan economies, with growth of 2.8 per cent and 2.3 per cent, respectively.

“Vancouver’s economy performed exceptionally well last year and this trend is expected to continue in 2016. Vancouver is projected to be the only Canadian metro region that will post economic growth above 3 per cent this year—nearly double the national average,” said Alan Arcand, Associate Director, Associate Director, Centre for Municipal Studies. “In fact, along with Vancouver, the other B.C. cities in our forecast—Abbotsford-Mission and Victoria—are also expected to perform well in 2016, ranking among the top ten fastest growing cities in Canada.”

Highlights

  • Vancouver will be the fastest growing metropolitan economy in Canada in 2016, with real GDP expected to rise 3.3 per cent.
  • Construction, manufacturing, and transportation and warehousing will be Vancouver’s fastest-growing sectors this year.
  • Abbotsford-Mission and Victoria are forecast to grow by 2.8 per cent and 2.3 per cent, respectively, this year.
  • Export-oriented industries like manufacturing and tourism in all three cities are benefiting from the low Canadian dollar and solid U.S. demand.

Vancouver

Vancouver’s economy is expected to expand by 3.3 per cent in 2016, the third year in a row that growth will surpass 3 per cent. In comparison, the Canadian economy will have only grown by about 1.8 per cent per year over the same three year period. Three of the fastest growing sectors this year will be construction, manufacturing, and transportation and warehousing. Growth in the construction sector will be fuelled by large mixed-use and non-residential projects, such as the Trump International Hotel and Tower and the expansion of the Vancouver International Airport, as well as stable new home construction. The manufacturing sector will be bolstered by continuing work on Seaspan’s shipbuilding contract for the federal government, and also by higher exports thanks to a lower Canadian dollar and healthy U.S. economy. The low-flying loonie should also help generate stronger tourism activity and make this year one of Vancouver’s busiest cruise ship seasons. The stronger export and tourism activity will, in turn, boost growth in transportation and warehousing. The robust economic performance should support solid job gains in the city, with 26,600 positions expected to be added to payrolls this year.

Abbotsford-Mission

Following strong growth of 3.3 per cent last year, Abbotsford-Mission’s economy is forecast to expand by a further solid 2.8 per cent in 2016. The manufacturing and resources, agriculture and utilities sectors will continue to benefit from a low Canadian dollar and growing U.S. demand for manufactured wood products. Local construction output is also expected to be healthy in 2016, thanks to ongoing non-residential projects such as the B.C. Hydro upgrade to the Ruskin Dam and development of the Silver Creek industrial park. One downside for Abbotsford-Mission’s economy will be employment, which is expected to shrink by 1 per cent in 2016, following a 10-year high of 5 per cent growth in 2015. This will push the unemployment rate up from 6.1 per cent last year to 6.4 per cent this year.

Victoria

Victoria’s economy will post its strongest gains since 2007 this year. Following six consecutive years of shrinking public administration output, a provincial budget surplus should provide a much needed boost to the sector, allowing it to post a modest 1.5 per cent expansion in 2016. The non-commercial services sector, which includes provincially-funded education and health care services, is also expected to post moderate growth of 1.8 per cent this year. At the same time, Victoria’s construction sector is on track to post its best performance in 4 years, with output growth of 4.3 per cent in 2016. Non-residential projects, including the Victoria Internal Marina and a $40-million mixed-use project to replace the Canada Customs building downtown, will help offset weakness on the residential side. Finally, the tourism outlook is also bright, thanks to the lower loonie. In all, Victoria’s real GDP is forecast to expand by a solid 2.3 per cent this year, leading to the creation of about 1,400 jobs.

Released today, Metropolitan Outlook: Winter 2016, is The Conference Board of Canada’s once-a-year analysis of 28 Canadian census metropolitan areas (CMAs).

Join Alan Arcand as he presents further details on why Vancouver is expected to perform well in the year ahead at a live webinar on April 12 at 11 a.m. Pacific.


For more information contact

Corporate Communications
613-526-3280
corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca


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