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New economic profile predicts a rough road ahead for British Columbia

Calgary, AB -- The latest Canada West Foundation economic profile and forecast for British Columbia forecasts lower...


Calgary, AB — The latest Canada West Foundation economic profile and forecast for British Columbia forecasts lower levels of economic growth in the province.

Worsening economic conditions, with the United States at their centre, mean that economic growth for British Columbia will fall well below the province’s six-year average of 3.4%. B.C.’s growth will, however, still exceed the rate of growth for Canada as a whole.

“Like the rest of Canada and most of the world, B.C. is confronted with a great deal of uncertainty when it comes to short-term economic prospects,” says senior economist Brett Gartner, author of the report, “and any forecast at this stage must be read with even more caution than would normally be the case. It is, however, possible to say this with a high level of certainty: economic growth in B.C. has slowed and will slow even more next year.”

Other key findings of the report include:

– The decline in B.C.’s export sector over the past two years has continued into 2008, due in large part to the tough conditions plaguing forestry industries; a reversal in fortunes of forestry industries is highly unlikely in the near term.

– Retail sales growth has slowed considerably compared to recent years, constraining economic growth in the near term; compared to the rest of the country, consumer spending in B.C. played a relatively more important role in GDP growth from 2000 to 2007.

– The total value of building permits in the first six months of 2008 is down from the same period in 2007 and growth in private and public sector investment has slowed again in 2008.

While current economic conditions make it all the more difficult to accurately gauge the future performance of the B.C. economy, the Canada West Foundation expects real economic growth in the province of 1.5% in 2008 and 1.3% in 2009.

The complete report, Buckle Up: Bumpy Road Ahead: British Columbia Economic Profile and Forecast, can be downloaded at www.cwf.ca/V2/cnt/publication_200810071011.php.

Canada West Foundation conducts non-partisan economic and public policy research of importance to the four western provinces and all Canadians. For more information, call 1-888-TALK-CWF (825-5293) or visit the website at www.cwf.ca.