Central 1 Credit Union

Central 1 Credit Union

March 14, 2012 08:00 ET

Northern B.C. to Enjoy Strong Economic Growth in 2012-3, Central 1's Regional Outlooks Says

Commodity-Led Recovery Will Contribute to Provincial Expansion

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - March 14, 2012) - Since the 2008 recession the Lower Mainland has accounted for most of the economic growth in B.C., but that is about to change, says a new forecast by Central 1 Credit Union.

Growth in northern B.C. driven by sales of coal, natural gas and copper will spur development in those areas and spread to the Lower Mainland as well, says the report that looks at regional economic prospects in 2012 and 2013.

Province-wide employment growth at 1.6% this year and 1.8% in 2013 is expected to become more robust thereafter.

"Demand for the commodities produced in the north will be strong in coming years," said Helmut Pastrick, Chief Economist for Central 1. "The Lower Mainland will benefit indirectly from the northern recovery through the provision of a variety of services ranging from transportation, professional services, goods, and administration services."

Signs of the northern turnaround are already evident and prospects for new investment are good, Pastrick said.

Lumber prices are expected to rise as the U.S. housing industry starts to recover. Natural gas prices will face pressure, due to the growing supply in the U.S., while copper and coal prices will be strong and support further expansion of output to meet the growing demand from the Asia-Pacific region.

Provincial resale housing prices and sales are expected to moderate in 2012 and regain momentum in 2013 along with the improving economy.

Highlights:

  • Vancouver Island and Coast Economic Region: Job growth will be modest, provincial government spending cuts will dampen economic output.
  • Lower Mainland-Southwest Economic Region: Moderate employment gains and modest housing growth are forecast.
  • Thompson-Okanagan Economic Region: Slightly below average job growth is likely, with the unemployment rate slowly dropping from 7.9 per cent in 2011 to 7.5 per cent in 2013.
  • Kootenay Economic Region: Above average employment growth is expected with gains in manufacturing, resources and tourism, but the growing labour force will keep the unemployment rate at the 8.1 per cent level in 2013.
  • Cariboo Economic Region: Economic gains will be modest this year, but gain strength in 2013, driving the unemployment rate down from 7.6 per cent in 2011 to 6.3 per cent in 2013.
  • North Coast and Nechako Economic Region: Prospects have improved dramatically in the area in recent years with major resource projects in the works. Stronger growth is expected after 2015, but in the interim employment will increase and the jobless rate will drop from 8.6 per cent in 2011 to 7.9 per cent in 2013.
  • Northeast Economic Region: Robust growth enjoyed in recent years will continue and the regional labour market will remain exceptionally tight. The 4.9 per cent unemployment rate in 2011 will drop even further to 4.7 per cent in 2013.

The full report B.C. Regional Outlooks 2012-13 is available here: http://www.central1.com/publications/economics/pdf/ea/ea%202012_01.pdf

About Central 1

Central 1 is the central financial facility and trade association for the B.C. and Ontario credit union systems. Central 1 represents a consumer-oriented, full-service retail financial system that serves three million members and holds $79 billion in assets and is owned primarily by its member credit unions, 45 in B.C. and 112 in Ontario.

With offices in Vancouver, Mississauga, and Toronto, Central 1 provides a wide range of services such as liquidity management, direct banking, and flexible payment service solutions. For more information, visit www.central1.com.

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