PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – The State of the North Economic Report has been released and offers insight into the future of Northern B.C.’s renewed strength in energy, the gas sector, and the challenges facing forestry.
According to the report, the Northeast Region is considered the second largest geographic area in Northern BC. Fort St. John is the largest community in the region and the majority of the Northeast’s population resides in the southeastern corner of the Peace River Regional District.
Employment in the Northeast Region is connected to the natural resource sector and this is reflected in the relatively high share of employment linked to the goods-producing sectors.
The report goes on to express businesses in the Northeastwhich reflect the natural resources in the region. Most businesses in the Northeast are small in scale, with nearly 90 percent of businesses employing fewer than 20 people.
Those businesses account for approximately one-third of employees in the region.
Median wages in the Northeast tend to be above median wages in other regions in
Northern BC. Median wages in the goods sector and the majority of occupations in the
service sector are above the living wage of $18.29.
Average home prices were lower in most of the communities in the Northeast region,
falling 18 percent in Dawson Creek, 6.3.per cent in Chetwynd and 2.2 percent in Fort St.
John in the third quarter of 2018.
The report goes on to say, the share of municipal tax revenues accounted for by industrial, commercial, and residential properties in the Northeast is similar. Approximately 32 percent of the municipal property tax base in the region is industrial, while 30 percent is commercial, and 28 percent is residential.
The North is very large and geographically diverse, which has a significant influence on economic opportunities. Rather than approaching it as a single entity it is best viewed as a collection of individual regions that are both economically distinct and inter-related. The State of the North report was designed to reflect this and provide meaningful data to support local and regional decision-making. With each iteration the factors relevant to each region and the trends underlying them become clearer. Susan Mowbray, senior economist, MNP
Other highlights from the State of the North Report include;
- The unemployment rate in Northern B.C. has begun to trend lower, and increases in employment in the Northwest regions are increasing. Continued declines in the unemployment rate are anticipated with the construction of the LNG Canada export facility;
- After a period of decline, the first eight months of 2018 revealed the value of residential building permits are up 30 percent over the same period in 2017. Additionally, housing starts increased in the first nine months of 2018;
- Overall improvements in the oil and gas market conditions in 2017 and 2018 resulted in an investment decision by LNG Canada and its partners to build an export facility in Kitimat. This project has the potential to employ over 7,000 people and inject as much as $10 billion into the economy;
- A combination of factors including forest fires, which burned approximately 1.2 million hectares of land in 2017, significant fires in the summer of 2018, the historic Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic and export tariffs to the U.S, have placed challenges on the forestry industry. A reduced supply in the future could mean mill closures, job loss and negative economic impacts.
To view the report CLICK HERE