DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia has stated something most residents in Northeast B.C. understand, our economy will improve when there is a revival in the resource sector.
According to the CPABC Regional Check-Up, an annual economic report the economy in Northeast B.C. will only improve with a change the in resource sector.
“Last year was one of the most challenging in recent history. There was a significant slowdown in major project development activity and our unemployment rate jumped to 9.7 per cent, the highest rate in at least 15 years,” said Ben Sander, FCPA, FCA, partner at Sander Rose Bone Grindle LLP in Dawson Creek. “This was due to 1,000 job losses and an increase of 1,700 unemployed people in the region. In addition, delayed investment decisions in oil and gas projects have worn away any optimism about the near-term future of our economy.”
According to the report, major project investments in the region fell by 2.8 per cent to $37.4 billion over the past year. In 2016, 2,900 jobs were lost in construction, transportation and warehousing and trade. On the bright side, over 1,300 new jobs were created in the forestry, mining, oil and gas industries.
“As regional service hubs with the most diversified economies in the region, both Fort St. John and Dawson Creek have seen job creation from activities on Site C and the Montney Formation projects, as well as construction on a number of smaller infrastructure investments,” continued Sander, “The reopening of two coal mines late last year also restored some jobs in the communities of Tumbler Ridge and Chetwynd.”
Price forecasts for Northeast B.C.’s principal commodities: natural gas, coal, and lumber, are trending positively for 2017 and 2018, which should have a correlating positive impact on the economy. During the first quarter of 2017, total employment in Northeast B.C. increased by 700 jobs.
The CPABC Regional Check-Up reports look at British Columbia’s eight Development Regions as a place to work, invest, and live. The reports are available online at: www.bccheckup.com.