2017 State of the North Report Released

A new report has been released providing an overview of the state of the economy for Central and Northern BC. The 2017 State of the North Economic Report provides community and business leaders with exhaustive sector-specific and regional data that will help shed light on opportunities and inform investment decisions.

A First for Northern BC

Until now, region-wide economic data for Northern BC has never been gathered comprehensively in one place. This has made it difficult for decision-makers to use pertinent data to inform policy making and investment decisions. The State of the North Report includes traditional economic indicator information, as well as overviews of core economic sectors such as forestry, agriculture, mining and energy. It also features regional profiles for the Northwest, Northeast, North Central and Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet areas.

Benefits of the 2017 State of the North Report

The State of the North report is designed to assist communities, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations make better informed decisions as they develop and deploy strategies to create jobs, generate new wealth, and advance northern communities. The report follows a similar model to the State of the Island Report published annually by the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance.

Report Highlights

  • Although the short-term outlook for the regional economy remains uncertain, economic conditions have largely stabilized following the decline in commodity prices in 2014 that resulted in shutdowns and project delays
  • More recent improvements in global commodity prices are supporting increased investment in traditional sectors, notably mining and oil and gas
  • Employment levels remain stable, yet the unemployment rate in the region is higher than the BC average
  • While building permits and housing starts have decreased in recent years, the forecast is for near-term stabilization
  • While the number of business formations has declined below the region’s three-year average, the number of business bankruptcies has remained consistent suggesting that economic conditions have stabilized. The scale of businesses in Northern B.C. remains relatively small, with approximately 75% of business having fewer than 10 employees, and 87% having fewer than 20 employees

The data is clear that the decline in commodity prices in 2014 had a significant impact on the regional economy,” explained Joel McKay, CEO, Northern Development Initiative Trust.

“The good news is that the data also shows that economic conditions in the region have stabilized more recently, and major project activity across the region has created opportunities for new investment.”