Study shows Vancouver Island economy continues to struggle in 2013
The Vancouver Island and Coastal region of the province continued to struggle in 2013, as unemployment increased.
Those were the findings in a new report from the Chartered Professional Accountants of BC (CPABC), which looked at each region as a place to work, invest and live. The Vancouver Island and Coastal region mentioned in the report encompasses Vancouver Island and the central coast of the B.C. Mainland from Powell River to Ocean Falls and Bella Coola.
"2013 was another difficult year for the region," said Duncan's Woody Hayes, an accountant and partner with Hayes, Stewart, Little and Co. "Forestry, fisheries, and mining remain important to economic growth, but they have substantially less employment today than in the past".
Last year, unemployment in the region increased to 6.2%, up from 6% in 2012, but still below the provincial average of 6.6%. The higher rate was caused by the region's labour force expanding more than the employed labour force. There was also a shift from full-time to part-time work. Both factors underscore the region's weak job market last year.
Many of those who did find work found themselves working outside the region, commuting to B.C.'s Northeast development region or Alberta's oil sands.
The report concluded that in the same year, capital investment and infrastructure were weakened by provincial and global factors. In addition, fewer retirees invested in housing here
The news isn't all gloomy. Several proposed projects in the resources sector are expected to bring economic activity. The value of these projects jumped from $.08 billion in 2012 to $4.4 billion in 2013. The new total includes a $2 billion LNG processing, storage and export facility in Campbell River and a $1 billion LNG export facility in Port Alberni.
"We are seeing a discouraging start for the region in 2014," Hayes said. "However, the forestry and related manufacturing industries are confident of another good year.This should bring some economic activity to the region. The approval of some of the proposed LNG projects will also improve Duncan's economy."
A copy of the report is available at www.bccheckup.com