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Business council forecasts slower growth of 0.7 per cent in B.C. ahead of budget

VANCOUVER — A new report ahead of next week’s B.C. budget is forecasting slower economic growth for the province this year.

The Business Council of British Columbia says “lacklustre” growth globally, high interest rates and weak private-sector job and investment numbers all add up to “a drag on prosperity” in 2024.

The report says while large capital projects in the province “fuelled strong gains” in per-capita GDP, B.C.’s economy grew by just 0.9 per cent in 2023 and is forecast to grow only 0.7 per cent in 2024.

The group’s report says job growth in B.C. reached 1.5 per cent in 2023, with private-sector employment falling 0.2 per cent, or about 6,000 jobs.

Group senior vice-president and chief economist Ken Peacock says in a statement the combined picture is “concerning,” with the winding-down of capital projects such as LNG Canada and the Site C dam creating further economic challenges for B.C. 

The government is slated to unveil its new budget next Thursday, and both Premier David Eby and Leader of the Opposition Kevin Falcon are scheduled to discuss policy in media briefings later today.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 15, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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