SOURCE: Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia

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September 07, 2016 17:16 ET

B.C. Expected to Lead Canada in Economic Growth

CPAs Say Growing Population and Consumer Confidence to Boost Spending

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - September 07, 2016) - According to the BC Check-Up, a report by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC), economic activity in B.C. is expected to be busy in 2016.

A sign of our economy's strength is the increasing number of residents from other provinces who have moved to British Columbia. Last year, B.C.'s population expanded by 44,724 new residents to reach 4.68 million, of which approximately 12,000 new residents were from other provinces. This is due to a growing number of Albertans and other Canadians relocating to the province for better economic opportunities.

"B.C. is forecasted to have a 3.0 per cent GDP growth rate for 2016, putting it in top place among Canadian provinces. This is driven by a growing population and consumer confidence, which will continue to boost spending on goods and services and in the housing market. In fact, recent data shows that retail trade grew by 5.5 per cent between December 2015 and April 2016," said Richard Rees, FCPA, FCA, president and CEO of CPABC. "In addition, we can expect a revival in B.C.'s export activity after marginal growth in 2015. This is due to continued demand for non-energy exports."

Total exports of our commodities increased by a marginal 0.5 per cent increase over the previous year to $35.9 billion. Despite a slump in energy exports, global markets continued to be a major destination for B.C.'s manufactured goods. Four of B.C.'s top five export commodities saw moderate increases in 2015, but exports of energy products fell by 25.2 per cent to $5.8 billion. However, the low Canadian dollar should continue to bolster demand for B.C.'s primary resources.

"We can expect an increase in tourism activity. The cheaper Canadian dollar is encouraging visitors from the U.S. and abroad, as well as staycationers from within the province and the rest of the country. Latest tourism data indicated that international tourists for the first half of 2016 was up 12 per cent from the year before. The number of overnight visitors who visited B.C. between January and June was over 2.3 million people," continued Rees.

Other key economic indicators for the year 2015 include:

  • B.C. enjoyed positive job creation in 2015, adding 27,800 new jobs to 2.31 million jobs. The service-sector accounted for two-thirds of these new jobs. However, B.C.'s labour force grew by 32,200 workers, which outstripped the number of new jobs. As a result, unemployment rate increased for the first time in five years by 0.1 percentage points to 6.2 per cent.
  • Labour compensation per employee increased by 1.1 per cent to $53,373. The national average increased by 0.6 per cent to $57,071. While our province has enjoyed relatively high real income gains compared to rest of Canada, it still has some catching up to do.
  • At $60,043, B.C. had the highest consumer debt per capita in the country. Nationally, average consumer debt per capita was $52,715 in 2015. This high level of consumer debt is linked to the high housing prices in B.C., particularly in Greater Vancouver. On average, Greater Vancouver households who earned the median pre-tax income in 2015 spent 76.9 per cent of their income on housing costs in 2015.

Learn more about the BC Check-Up report at www.bccheckup.com.

About CPA British Columbia

The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) was formed through the amalgamation of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of BC (ICABC), the Certified General Accountants Association of BC (CGA-BC), and the Certified Management Accountants Society of BC (CMABC). CPABC was officially established when the CPA Act came into effect on June 24, 2015. CPABC represents over 34,000 members and 5,200 CPA students and candidates.

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