Housing drives B.C. economic growth
B.C. employment and housing starts dipped in May, but job growth continues to lead the country so far in 2016.
The latest Statistics Canada figures show employment in B.C. declined by 8,400 people in May, reversing most of a surge in hiring in April. Even with the drop, employment was three per cent higher than at the same time last year.
Compared to 2015, employment was up 16.5 per cent in resource extraction, 14 per cent in public administration and 6.1 per cent in trade. For the first five months of this year, full-time employment was up 2.7 per cent and part-time employment rose by 6.3 per cent.
In its weekly economic briefing, Central 1 Credit Union noted that employment gains are largely confined to Metro Vancouver. Employment is down 0.4 per cent from a year ago in the remainder of the province.
Urban B.C. housing starts, which Central 1 calls "a pillar of economic growth this year," were up 45 per cent through April, to 16,320 units.
About 80 per cent of the overall growth in housing starts was in Metro Vancouver, but starts more than doubled in the Abbotsford-Mission and Kelowna census metropolitan areas and nearly doubled in the Prince George census area.
"We forecast full-year housing starts (including rural areas) to reach 38,200 units this year, marking a 21 per cent increase from 2015," Central 1 senior economist Bryan Yu said.