Vancouver’s strong pre-COVID economy forecast to bounce back
New custom data from the Conference Board of Canada forecasts that Vancouver’s GDP will decline six percent in 2020 to $143 billion (contrasting sharply with a 2.8 percent increase in 2019). This same forecast predicts that Vancouver’s GDP will rebound in 2021 by 6.8 percent to $153 billion, regaining the losses seen in 2020.
There are numerous challenges associated with using GDP to assess a region or country’s economic strength. VEC continues to advocate for more comprehensive datasets from Statistics Canada and other research partners. In the meantime, please refer to VEC’s latest economic report for additional analysis on Vancouver’s economic performance and a more in-depth look into the drawbacks of GDP as a metric.
Find the October 2020 Report
Employment & Unemployment
Prior to the onset of COVID-19, Vancouver was reporting record-low unemployment levels hovering around a rate of 4%. As a result of the global pandemic, unemployment reached a high of 13.3% in July but has since fallen to 11.1% in September.
Census metropolitan area (CMA): an area consisting of one or more neighbouring municipalities situated around a core
According to the Conference Board of Canada, Vancouver’s unemployment rate is expected to rise to 9.6% by the end of 2020. However, in 2021, the unemployment rate is predicted to be 6.9%, while still too high, is closer to our pre-COVID rate of 4-5%.
Housing starts is a useful leading indicator that can signal the wider population’s confidence in the economy. Proportionately for its size, Vancouver is building a significant number of homes in comparison to other Canadian cities.
Total Housing Starts
As one of North America’s fastest-growing low-carbon economies, Vancouver’s economy was performing exceptionally well before the global pandemic. Vancouver’s recent economic growth has been largely driven by a few key sectors – construction, technology, digital entertainment and the green economy – and has done so by becoming a model for sustainable green growth. As we look beyond GDP in measuring economic recovery, here are a few examples of the key metrics that we actively track in the pursuit of a diverse, resilient economy that helps deliver prosperity for all.
2010 – 2017VEC, 2019
Q1 Q2 2020CVCA, H1 2020
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