(Alpha Stock Images)

British Columbia’s economy is forecast to remain strong through 2020

Central 1 Credit Union says 2017 was a year of ‘stellar growth,’ and momentum will continue

B.C. is predicted to have solid economic growth through 2020 by a trade association of credit unions.

Central 1 Credit Union says 2017 was a year of “stellar growth” and the positive momentum will continue in B.C. for the next 24 months, despite a slower housing market.

The new forecast calls for a three per cent growth in the province’s real gross domestic product, which is the inflation-adjusted value of all goods and services produced in B.C.

Growth is expected to slow to just over two per cent next year, but Central 1 economists are calling for a rebound to 3.3 per cent by 2020, marking what they say has been “more than a decade of uninterrupted annual growth.”

Federal lending restrictions, provincial government policies and stepped up home construction will combine to keep a lid on B.C.’s housing market, but Central 1 does not foresee a price correction.

Bryan Yu, deputy chief economist at Central 1, says warning flags include trade disruptions due to trade wars or disputes over renewal of the North American Free Trade Agreement, but he says B.C.’s exports are spread across the province, limiting some of the risk.

Yu also forecasts faster wage growth for B.C. workers, as average unemployment moves toward four per cent over the next two years.

“Employers will face increasing challenges in finding workers to support operations as employment is constrained by growth in the labour force due to an aging population,” he says in a news release.

Overall, Yu predicts a surge in investment by the end of the decade as major private and public works projects get underway.

“B.C.’s economy remains in a strong position with consumer demand underpinned by high employment and income growth, rising exports and government spending,” he says.

The Canadian Press

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