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This release was originally published on the
CPA British Columbia site and has been reproduced with permission.
KELOWNA, June 3, 2016 – The CPABC
Regional Check-Up, an annual economic report by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) found that the Thompson-Okanagan’s economy continued to strengthen in 2015 and is expected to remain robust in 2016.
“Compared to other regions in B.C., the Thompson-Okanagan’s economy performed relatively well in 2015. Population growth, increased tourism, and favourable weather benefited our economy,” said Karen Christiansen, FCPA, FCA, partner at MNP LLP in Kelowna. “We had another hot and sunny year last year, so while there were water challenges, grape and cherry production increased. As a result, we had another exceptional year for grape harvest and wine production.”
Tourism visits to the region increased due to a lower Canadian dollar. Hotel occupancy was up 2.9 per cent in Kelowna and 4.6 per cent in Penticton, while it was down one per cent in Kamloops. The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association estimated that tourism revenues increased by five to 10 per cent in 2015.
Continued population growth led to a 9.0 per cent increase in housing sales. This was accompanied by a 3.1 per cent increase in housing sale values and a decrease in existing inventories, and spurred a 6.0 per cent increase in housing starts. Positive trends in the housing market also impacted the value of the region’s building permits, which increased by 15.6 per cent to $1.3 billion.
“Increased activity in these industries provided employment opportunities for young workers between the ages 19 and 24. This helped to bring down our region’s youth unemployment by 1.6 percentage points to 8.1 per cent in 2015, well below the provincial average of 9.9 percent. The decline was also unique in the province,” continued Christiansen.
2016 looks to be another positive year for the region. The Thompson-Okanagan had record real estate sales in the first quarter of 2016, largely due to lower mainland homeowners cashing out and relocating to the region. This reported jump suggests the Thompson-Okanagan will see continued population growth, increased housing starts, and further construction and other real estate related activity. In addition, the relatively weak Canadian dollar is expected to contribute to another good year for the tourism industry.
Capital investment between September 2014 and September 2015 decreased slightly from $24.4 to $23.9 billion. Residential and commercial developments accounted for 69 per cent of the total value of major projects in the region.
The region saw a gain of 1,000 jobs in 2015, driven by 3,800 new jobs in the service sector. The goods sector lost 2,800 jobs, due to job losses in the construction industry, primarily in road and utility construction.
The number of reported business bankruptcies in the region fell by 4 to 20 reports. Consumer insolvency in the region also fell by 2.9 per cent to 3.3 per 1,000 adults (aged 18 and older). This reflects an improvement in entrepreneurial resilience and in the local economy.
Regional Check-Up – Thompson-Okanagan
The Thompson-Okanagan Development Region comprises five Regional Districts, the Okanagan-Similkameen, Thompson-Nicola, Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, and Columbia-Shuswap, and has the third-highest population after Southwest B.C. and Vancouver Island/Coast.
Regional Check-Up reports look at British Columbia’s eight Development Regions as a place to work, invest, and live. The reports are available online at:
About CPA British Columbia
The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) was formed through the amalgamation of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of BC (ICABC), the Certified General Accountants Association of BC (CGA-BC), and the Certified Management Accountants Society of BC (CMABC). CPABC was officially established when the CPA Act came into effect on June 24, 2015. CPABC represents over 34,000 members and 5,200 CPA students and candidates.
For more information contact Karen Christiansen, FCPA, FCA at 250.979.1735 or [email protected]
Related Topics:In The Community; Economy
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