BC Now a Growth Leader in Canada

  • June 17, 2015

By Ken Peacock

According to recently released data from Statistics Canada, the BC economy grew by 2.6% in 2014. Against the backdrop of sluggish commodity markets, sub-par global growth and ongoing turbulence in Europe and some emerging economies, this is a very respectable showing. In historical terms, it is just slightly ahead of the province’s 2.5% long-term average growth rate. And measured against other provinces, our economic expansion was second among the ten provinces last year.

What sectors or industries performed best in 2014? The 20 fastest growing industries are listed in the table below. At the top of the heap is Metal Ore Mining, which recorded a 29% surge in real output in 2014, notwithstanding spoor global mining conditions. The explanation for the surprising gain in mining GDP is that two new mines began operating in BC in 2014. Real estate activity helped lift the province’s economy, which is reflected in the 16% increase in output in the Offices of Real Estate Agents and Brokers sector. The outsized influence of real estate in BC’s economy is also evident with the Residential Construction Industry holding the 20th spot in the industry-by-industry growth rankings. Solid growth in various non-resource manufacturing sectors is also a notable feature of the top 20 list. There are seven non-resource manufacturing industries in the top 20, including a couple in the Electronics Manufacturing segment as well as the Aerospace Products and Parts industry. The recovery in the US housing market helped to put a couple of forest products manufacturing sub-sectors onto the list. Benefitting in part from the lower Canadian dollar, Film and Television Production also recorded strong growth in 2014.

Combined, the top 20 growth industries accounted for 10% of total GDP. Collectively, these 20 industries grew by 12.9% in 2014. What is striking is the lift these industries provided to overall economic growth. As noted, the province’s real GDP increased by 2.6% in 2014. If the top 20 industries are excluded from the total, the remaining 90% of the economy grew by a much more modest 1.6%. In other words, in spite of only accounting for 10% of all economic activity, the top 20 industries (ranked by output growth in 2014) boosted economic growth rate by a full percentage point.

BC’s Top 20 Growth Industries, 2014
Growth in Real (inflation adjusted) GDP

growth, %

Metal ore mining

29.1

Support activities for oil and gas extraction

26.7

Offices of real estate agents and brokers

16.5

Other electronic product manufacturing

16.2

Aerospace product and parts manufacturing

12.7

Miscellaneous food manufacturing

12.7

Non-metallic mineral product mfg. (exc cement/concrete)

12.1

Other wood product manufacturing

11.9

Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing

11.7

Veneer, plywood & engineered wood product mfg.

11.3

Semiconductor and other electronic component mfg.

10.5

Computer systems design and related services

9.4

Metalworking machinery manufacturing

9.3

Motion picture and video industries (except exhibition)

8.8

Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores

8.2

Furniture and home furnishings stores

8.2

Electronics and appliance stores

8.1

Data processing, hosting, and related services

7.8

Waste management and remediation services

7.6

Residential building construction

7.3
Source: Statistics Canada, CANSIM Table 379-0030.