BRITISH COLUMBIA – In BC in March, sales, starts and new listings declined. Sales rose in the Kootenay and Northern regions, while declining in all other areas of the province. Rental costs in Vancouver and Victoria continue broadly rising and remain elevated relative to most other points since the onset of the pandemic.
Retail sales eased somewhat in February but remain close to record highs. As for March, restaurant reservations in Vancouver are at roughly 86 per cent of the pre-pandemic level. In BC, Google’s measure of movement trends is currently about 17 per cent below pre-pandemic levels.
Although aggregate employment has recovered in BC to pre-pandemic levels, the accommodation and food service sector was about 12 per cent below the pre-pandemic level in March. The labour market has served high-income workers much better than low-income workers. Employment in high-income industries is about 10 per cent above pre-pandemic employment levels, while employment in low-income industries is about 5 per cent below pre-pandemic employment levels.
Manufacturing and exports both rose to a fresh record in February, while imports rose but remained just shy of a record level.
Both consumer and business confidence rose slightly in March.
The number of US and non-US tourists rose in March, with US tourists reaching the highest level since the onset of the pandemic. Still, tourism remains more than two thirds below pre-pandemic levels.
For a more comprehensive overview of BC’s economic recovery, click here.