Financial experts, who took place in BC’s Economic Forecast Council on Friday, are anticipating an economic rebound with “moderate growth” over the course of 2021 and into 2022.
New projections from the forecast council suggest that the province will see growth rates of 4.7 per cent in 2021 and 4.3 per cent in 2022.
“Like all provinces, people in B.C. have weathered a year unlike any other. The pandemic has required significant changes to the way we conduct day-to-day business, and those changes have affected workers, businesses, households and the economy as a whole,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Finance. “I am encouraged to hear the economic forecasts signal our government is on the right path and poised to seize the opportunities that recovery will offer, but we also need to be realistic about the long road ahead.”
Like the rest of the country, British Columbia’s economy has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the forecast council estimates B.C.’s real gross domestic product (GDP) declined by 5.1% in 2020.
The council, however, states that since B.C.’s economic low point in April 2020, the province has had nine consecutive months of job growth, highlighting that the unemployment rate – although higher than pre-pandemic levels – is below the national average.
“The Province has retained its status as the only province with triple-A credit ratings by the three international rating agencies, further signalling prudent fiscal management,” reads a statement from the government.
During Friday’s Economic Forecast Council, 13 independent forecasters from banks, financial institutions and independent organizations across Canada discussed current events and issues affecting British Columbia’s economy.
These issues included:
- COVID-19 impacts over the short and medium-term, as well as industry-specific impacts, gender-based analysis and other intersections across the economy;
- Government policies to support economic recovery and maintain fiscal discipline;
- Policies and vaccination timelines in B.C., Canada and the rest of the world;
- Housing affordability and resilience in homebuying;
- LNG and other industry opportunities; and
- Uncertainty surrounding the global outlook and restrictions around trade.
The council’s economic forecasts will be presented with the B.C. government’s updated forecasts in Budget 2021.
Back in the fall of 2020, the BC Government forecasted the provincial deficit at $13.6 billion for 2020-21.