After three years of flat or stagnant increases, Victoria is poised for economic growth above 2 per cent in 2015, according to The Conference Board of Canada’s Metropolitan Outlook: Spring 2015.
“As a provincial capital, Victoria has been hit hard by fiscal restraint. The local economy has grown little in recent years but things are looking up,” said Alan Arcand, Associate Director, Centre for Municipal Studies. “With the provincial government in a stronger fiscal position, the public sector is finally expected to start growing again.”
- Victoria’s real GDP is expected to rise by 2.1 per cent in 2015, the strongest gain in eight years.
- The public administration sector is expected to start growing again.
- Employment in Victoria is forecast to increase for the first time in three years.
- Toronto, Vancouver, and Halifax will be the fastest growing metropolitan economies in the country this year, with each posting gains of 3.1 per cent.
Victoria’s real gross domestic product is forecast to rise by 2.1 per cent in 2015, marking the first time growth will surpass 2 per cent since 2007. Economic gains are expected to come in at an even stronger 2.3 per cent in 2016.
After several years of fiscal restraint, the British Columbia government was finally able to balance its books. This will allow the government to increase spending and boost the fortunes of Victoria’s key public administration sector. Indeed, output is forecast to rise by an annual average rate of 1.6 per cent over the next two years.
Employment in Victoria is forecast to increase for the first in three years in 2015, which should help encourage consumer spending. At the same time, tourism activity should continue to strengthen, as the number of foreign visitors to Victoria rises in line with improving global economic conditions and a relatively weaker Canadian dollar. Wholesale and retail trade output is expected to increase by 3.2 per cent this year.
One of the few bright spots over the past few years has been Victoria’s manufacturing sector. The manufacturing sector is expected to continue to do well in 2015, thanks to work at the Victoria Shipyards. The region’s manufacturing industry will also benefit from a stronger economy south of the border as well as a lower Canadian dollar. In total, manufacturing output is expected to increase by 5.1 per cent this year.
With the exception of Calgary, Regina, Edmonton and Saskatoon, most of the 13 CMAs covered in the report will see their economic fortunes improve this year, boosted by lower oil prices, a weaker Canadian dollar and improvement in the U.S. economy. Toronto, Vancouver, and Halifax will be the fastest growing metropolitan economies in the country this year, with each posting gains of 3.1 per cent.