Vancouver’s Strong pre-COVID Economy Will Improve Economic Recovery

While Metro Vancouver’s GDP is expected to dip by 3%, forecasts indicate the region’s economy will rebound strongly at a rate of 6.5% in 2021. The resilience of Vancouver’s strong pre-COVID economy – which led the country in economic growth for years – will help the region weather the global pandemic’s effects better than the rest of BC or Canada, and boost Vancouver’s recovery rate above other jurisdictions.

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 more in-depth information on Vancouver’s economic performance.
Find the July 2020 Report

Employment & Unemployment

Prior to the onset of COVID-19, Vancouver was experiencing record-low unemployment levels hovering around a rate of 4%. As a result of the global pandemic’s impact on the economy, unemployment climbed close to 11% in May 2020.

Vancouver CMA

Census metropolitan area (CMA): an area consisting of one or more neighbouring municipalities situated around a core

Unemployment Forecast

According to the Conference Board of Canada, Vancouver’s unemployment rate is expected to rise to 7.5% by the end of 2020. However, looking to 2021, the unemployment rate is predicted to fall back to 5% – close to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Vancouver CMA

Housing Starts

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

Economic Metrics

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.

3.3%Office Vacancy RateUp 1% from Q1 2020CBRE Q2 2020, Office Report
$1B+High Impact InvestmentFacilitated by VECVEC, 2019
Top 25Startup EcosystemIn the WorldStartup Genome, 2020
#1Most Diverse EconomyIn CanadaConference Board, 2018
#1VFX & Animation HubIn the World, 2020VEC, 2020
#3Film & TV Production HubLargest in North America, 2019VEC, 2020
-15%Average Rental PricesApril to March, 2020
+4.8%Average Wage GrowthY-on-Y in B.C.Statistics Canada, 2020
1 in 15Jobs is a Green JobUp 35% from
2010 – 2017
VEC, 2019
$2.9BVenture Capitalto Vancouver Companies, 2019PitchBook, 2020
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Local Economic Drivers

Building a resilient economy requires a commitment to assessing all decision-making against global trends, risks and opportunities