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BMO Financial Group

April 30, 2012 17:30 ET

BMO: Let's Create 60,000 Jobs Together in Vancouver by 2016

Dr. Sherry Cooper releases report on outlook for economy, housing and labour market in Vancouver

- Vancouver economy outperforming rest of B.C. with employment rising 2.8 per cent in first quarter of 2012

- Residential construction expanding and labour market improving

- Strong international immigration is driving population growth above national rate

- BMO offering support to Canadian businesses by making $10 billion in credit available over next three years

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - April 30, 2012) - The next four years will bring 60,000 new jobs to the Greater Vancouver Area, according to a new report released today by Dr. Sherry Cooper, Chief Economist, BMO Financial Group.

The report on Greater Vancouver is the second in a series of economic and business overviews for various cities across Canada that will be published by BMO throughout the year.

"With the forecast of 60,000 jobs generated over the next four years, we are excited to partner with businesses and work together to achieve this significant economic growth in the Vancouver area," said Derral Moriyama, Senior Vice-President, Commercial Banking, Greater Vancouver. "We believe that now is the time for businesses to review their growth plans, and our commitment to make an additional $10 billion in credit available is a reflection of our confidence in the economy and opportunities for businesses in Vancouver and B.C.".

"The Vancouver labour market is performing well with employment rising 2.8 percent year over year in the first quarter, while the jobless rate has fallen to 6.6 per cent, below both provincial and national averages," said Dr. Cooper. "We are forecasting 60,000 new jobs in Greater Vancouver by 2016."

Dr. Cooper added that the British Columbia economy has cooled, and will likely post 2.3 per cent real GDP growth this year, down from 2.9 per cent in 2011; however Vancouver's economy remains a bright spot as it continues to outperform the rest of B.C.

Population growth, while slowing, is still well above the national and provincial averages, amid strong international immigration, and manufacturing activity in B.C. continues to recover from the recession of 2008-2009, with sales up 5.5 percent year over year in February.

The report focused on key drivers of the Vancouver economy and revealed:

Off the Boil: Activity on the Home Front Cools

  • Average house prices were down 3.1 per cent year over year in March compared to a 20 per cent increase a year ago.
  • Despite the recent cooling, average house prices remain about 10 times median household incomes, the most expensive in Canada.
  • Home sales are running about 10 per cent below the 10-year average.
  • The condo market leads new building activity with more than 15,000 units under construction in February, up 32 per cent year over year.
  • Non-residential construction is stable, but has cooled significantly from peak levels prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics.

A Revolving Door: Population Outpacing National Average Despite Outward Migration

  • Population growth for Greater Vancouver has cooled to 1.5 per cent year over year, still comfortably above the national rate of 1.1 percent and higher than the one per cent for all of B.C.
  • International immigration remains strong, but there has been a notable increase in outward migration to other provinces, specifically Alberta.

Filling the Pipeline: Energy Sector Charging Up

  • In the energy sector, Kinder Morgan plans to add 550,000 barrels per day of capacity to its Trans Mountain pipeline.
  • Forestry exports are feeling the impact of a cooler Chinese property market - lumber exports to China surged 61 per cent to more than $1 billion in 2011, but growth eased late in the year and activity should be more stable in 2012.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly-diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $538 billion as at January 31, 2012, and more than 47,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

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