The Conference Board of Canada is out with its latest Provincial Outlook, and it’s predicting BC’s economy will grow by 3.1 per cent this year and 3.6 per cent next year.
If true, that would be the best in the country, and British Columbia would be the only Canadian province to post growth of more than three per cent in each of the two years.
The Board is bullish on BC largely thanks to the construction industry but much of the forecast focus is based on LNG development.
In fact the $36 billion Pacific Northwest terminal project — which could start as early as next year — is included in the board’s forecast.
Associate Director of Provincial Economic Trends, Marie-Christine Bernard, says, “A major investment in a Liquefied Natural Gas project could get underway if all conditions are met,” adding, “This would be a game changer for the province providing a considerable boost to the economy.”
However, the board expects the province’s economic growth to go beyond the resource sector, and it believes manufacturing will provide a solid base for the economy over the next few years, with wood product manufacturing getting a boost from healthy U.S. home construction this year.
The Board also believes retail sales are poised to increase by 6.6 per cent this year, with an improving labor market expected to support the fast pace of consumer spending leading to what it calls strong job creation again next year and in 2017.
The Conference Board is recognized by many as the foremost independent, evidence-based, not-for-profit, applied research organization in the country, and is independent from, but affiliated with, The Conference Board Incorporated in New York, which provides performance and service advice and information to nearly two thousand companies in sixty different nations.