State of the North 2018 reveals renewed strength in energy and gas sector, forestry facing challenges
The second annual State of the North economic report has been released and offers insight into the current fiscal state of Northern B.C. and what is trending for the future.
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 North Central, Cariboo-Chilcotin and Lillooet and 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 per cent 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.
Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust
This report truly highlights that while much of the economic growth in British Columbia is centered in the southern portion of the province, the north is continuing to make economic strides. Signiﬁcant infrastructure projects such as the Site C dam, highway upgrades, the construction of a propane export terminal, among others, have helped to oﬀ set declines in natural resource industries and will serve to grow our Northern B.C. economy.
Susan Mowbray, senior economist, MNP
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.
About the Report
The State of the North report includes traditional economic indicator information, overviews of core economic sectors such as forestry, agriculture, mining and energy and regional profiles for the Northwest, Northeast, North Central and Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet areas.
The State of the North report has been designed to be a tool that communities, businesses and not-profit organizations can use as they develop and deploy strategies to create jobs, generate new wealth and advance northern communities. The State of the North report is an impartial third-party report with data collection and interpretation provided by MNP. The report follows a similar model to the State of the Island report published annually by the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance.
About Northern Development Initiative Trust
Northern Development has a passion for growing the economy of central and northern British Columbia. Communities, First Nations and businesses of the north are leaders in creating jobs, new revenues and improving the quality of life in the region, and the Trust is dedicated to supporting their growth. The Trust combines funding with smart thinking and since 2005 has found more than 3,300 ways to say “yes” to projects that help the region thrive.
MNP is a leading national accounting, tax and business consulting firm in Canada. With four locations in central and northern B.C. and more than 60 locations across the country, MNP combines the expertise and resources of a national firm with an on-the-ground understanding of our local communities and market conditions. As your partner in business, MNP’s professionals provide clear, straight forward business advice from a local perspective to help you succeed.
Director of Communications and Marketing
Northern Development Initiative Trust