Ottawa, July 27, 2016– Prince George will see the strongest economic growth among the seven cities covered in The Conference Board of Canada’s latest Mid-Sized Cities Outlook 2016. Following growth of 2.6 per cent last year, Prince George's economy is forecast to make further gains over the next two years, with real GDP rising by 2.4 per cent this year and 2.8 per cent in 2017.
Ottawa, July 27, 2016—Prince George will see the strongest economic growth among the seven cities covered in The Conference Board of Canada’s latest Mid-Sized Cities Outlook 2016. Following growth of 2.6 per cent last year, Prince George’s economy is forecast to make further gains over the next two years, with real GDP rising by 2.4 per cent this year and 2.8 per cent in 2017.
“The Prince George economy has been growing at a healthy pace for several years, and 2016 should be no different,” said Alan Arcand, Associate Director, Centre for Municipal Studies, The Conference Board of Canada. “We expect that much of the city’s growth this year will be fuelled by strong gains in forestry, construction, finance, insurance, and real estate.”
- Prince George’s real GDP should grow by a healthy 2.4 per cent in 2016.
- Multiple-unit starts in Prince George are set to hit a 20-year high in 2016, bolstered by the 173 unit RiverBend Seniors Community complex.
- Employment in the city is forecast to grow by 4.5 per cent this year, following an 8.2 per cent decline in 2015.
On the heels of five years of growth, output in Prince George’s primary and utilities industry is projected to keep rising, albeit at a slightly cooler annual average rate of 2.6 per cent this year and next. Growth is being driven by stronger U.S. new home construction activity, which has generated higher demand for B.C. wood products.
The local construction sector will also see strong growth this year. Multiple-unit housing starts are set to hit a 20-year high in 2016, boosted by the start of construction on the 173-unit RiverBend Seniors Community complex in April. On the non-residential side, much of the work on land clearing, road construction, and city servicing has already been completed on the $382-million Prince George Global Logistics Park, with spaces available for sale immediately. Currently, Inland Kenworth is constructing an 88,000 square foot building in the park that will be ready for occupancy this fall. Overall, construction output is expected to grow by 4.4 per cent this year.
Thanks to the healthy local housing market, Prince George’s finance, insurance, and real estate industry is poised to expand by 5.6 per cent in 2016, making the sector this year’s growth leader. Although the remaining services-producing industries will post more moderate gains this year, overall output growth in the services sector is still projected to come in at 2.5 per cent.
Following a steep 8.2 per cent decline in 2015, employment is expected to rebound this year and next, increasing by 4.5 per cent and by 2 per cent, respectively. This should allow consumer spending to maintain its positive momentum, with retail sales forecast to climb by 4.6 per cent this year.
The Mid-Sized Cities Outlook 2016 provides economic forecasts for seven cities that contributed financially to the research—Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie, Brandon, Lethbridge, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, and Prince George. The report also includes historical economic and employment data for 31 mid-sized Canadian cities.