While resource industries continue to be the primary economic drivers in many regions, British Columbia has progressed from a mainly resource-based economy to a diverse knowledge-driven economy.
B.C.'s economy is more oriented to small businesses and service industries than most provinces. A little more than three-quarters of economic activity comes from the service sector and nearly four-fifths of the workforce are employed in this sector. Small business owners, entrepreneurs and investors help create new businesses and employment opportunities in our expanding economy.
Since 2007 British Columbia has broadened its trading focus, strengthening ties with Asia-Pacific countries such as Japan, China, Korea and India. To these new and important markets, we can showcase a skilled and inventive workforce, competitive business costs and a high quality of life. British Columbia is becoming a trade hub for goods, services and people travelling to and from the Asia-Pacific region to Canada and the United States. For more information about international and interprovincial trade, see B.C. Stats' page on Exports and Imports.
Over the next decade, British Columbia will need advanced skills and knowledge to drive a growing and more varied economy. Emerging sectors that include British Columbian green technology, digital media and life sciences will thrive, along with innovation within current sectors such as natural resources.
British Columbia’s economy has undergone significant growth and change, developing a more diverse economic base that offers abundant opportunities in the workforce.
- British Columbia is expected to be one of Canada’s economic leaders in the years to come.
- By 2017, B.C.’s Gross Domestic Product is anticipated to increase by over 25 per cent.
- Increased services, from health care to emerging high-tech to retail sales, will drive B.C. economic growth.
For additional information about B.C.'s economy and market see Economic and Market Research/Statistics.
For current news on economic related topics in B.C. see BC Ministry of Finance: News. Additional up-to-date statistics can be found on the Positive Economic Indicators page and Statistics Canada's Economic Accounts page. For information on current and planned investments and activities in B.C. see the Major Projects Inventory.
The Green Economy in B.C.
B.C.'s green economy is one of the fastest growing elements of B.C.'s overall economy. Use the following resources to learn more about B.C.'s green economy:
British Columbia's Green Economy report covers employment, regional activity, green resource opportunities, growth potential and key sectors in B.C.'s green economy.
British Columbia's Green Economy: Securing the Work Force of Tomorrow provides a framework for understanding the green economy and its six key sectors. It highlights green opportunities for generating wealth and employment and presents challenges and possible solutions for realizing these opportunities.
Careers for a Sustainable Future: A Reference Guide to Green Jobs in British Columbia provides information on green jobs in B.C.
Skilled, Qualified & Sustainable: A Reference Guide to Green Education & Training in British Columbia discusses green education and training in B.C.
As a result of economic growth, employment in British Columbia should grow by an average of 1.8 per cent each year through to 2019, creating a total of 450,000 new jobs.
- British Columbia’s labour force currently consists of 2.4 million people.
- Retirees will vacate approximately 676,000 additional jobs.
- In total, we can expect 1,126,000 job openings over the next decade.
- With about 650,000 young people in our education system today, the growth in job openings will probably outpace the graduation rate.
British Columbia will need to increase the size of its workforce and ensure it has the right skills to support economic development in all regions.