Southwest B.C. enjoyed some economic gains in 2017, but less optimism for 2018

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia, June 13, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Southwest B.C. enjoyed a fourth consecutive year of economic advancement in 2017. Real estate demand and consumer spending led to job creation in the service sector and other supporting industries. And while high-tech continued to thrive, experts warn that natural resources are still key to ensuring future economic success for the region. 

According to the CPABC report, in 2017 the number of residents in the Southwest B.C. region increased by 1.2 per cent, or 34,679, individuals, bringing the total to 2.96 million residents. Overall, 49,000 jobs were created in the region during this period, the majority of which were in the service sector. Specifically, as housing activity in the region remained busy, it was not surprising that the finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing industry accounted for over a quarter of the new jobs.

With the amount of real estate activity, construction workers were also kept busy in 2017. Construction added another 10,400 jobs to the labour market last year. 

“Our housing market is not expected to generate the same economic growth this year or in coming years, as higher mortgage rates and new tax policies are expected to dampen demand,” said Lori Mathison, FCPA, FCGA, LLB, president and CEO of CPABC. “Our real estate market was a major driver of economic growth in the past few years, so it remains to be seen how these policy changes will impact our overall economy.”

A strength in Southwest B.C.’s economy lies with the high-technology sector. The CPABC report found that employment in high-tech grew in 2017. Over the past five years, the number of workers in this sector increased by 26,300, making it the second-fastest growing sector in the economy behind retail.

Although Amazon did not shortlist Vancouver as a potential site for its second headquarter office, the company continues to grow its influence in the region, with the recent announcement to develop the downtown post office location and hire another 3,000 staff.

“While our region is recognized as being diverse and technology focused, we need to remain sensitive to development in the resource sector throughout B.C.,” said Mathison, “The resource sector plays a big role in our provincial economy and creates many spin-off activities in our region. For example, many mining companies are headquartered here in the Lower Mainland even though their operations are in northern B.C. With that in mind, we mustn’t lose sight of our roots while we continue to diversify and grow the economy.”

Thereports look at British Columbia’s eight Development Regions as a place to work, invest, and live. The reports are available online at: .

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Vivian Tse, Public Affairs Manager

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Globe Newswire: 16:16 GMT Wednesday 13th June 2018

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