The construction industry is helping spur the Central Fraser Valley’s economy. Tyler Olsen/Abbotsford News

Report predicts drop in Abbotsford-Mission unemployment rate

Strong growth forecast by Conference Board of Canada, but trade concerns pose risk

Unemployment in the Central Fraser Valley is expected to drop over the next four years, according to a new report that predicts the Abbotsford-Mission area will boast some of the best economic growth numbers in Canada.

The Conference Board of Canada’s most recent report on 15 mid-sized cities predicts Abbotsford-Mission will boast the group’s third-fastest-growing economy in 2017, and the fourth-fastest between 2018 and 2021. Other cities included in the report include St. John’s Kingston, Windsor and Thunder Bay.

If the board’s predictions hold true, Abbotsford will have seen the best economic growth numbers among mid-sized cities in the decade ending in 2021.

But those forecasts could be jeopardized by Donald Trump. The Conference Board, a non-profit think tank, says that if the United States implements protectionist trade policies, Abbotsford’s export-oriented manufacturing, transportation and warehousing sectors could be hit. Trump has repeatedly indicated that he wants to amend or even tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement, and recently said on Twitter that Canada was being “very difficult.”

As it is, Abbotsford-Missioin saw the third-best economic growth numbers in 2016, with the real GDP growing by 3.1 per cent. The board’s report suggest Abbotsford-Mission will see growth between 2.1 and 2.4 per cent through to 2020, and 1.8 per cent in 2021.

Unemployment is predicted to dip all the way to 2021, from 6.5 per cent last year, to 4.9 per cent in four years’ time.

“Following a gain of 4.9 per cent in 2015, employment growth was stagnant in 2016 despite that year’s healthy real output growth,” the report says. “Fortunately, we expect the region to add close to 3,600 new jobs to payrolls over the next two years, with total employment growth expected to reach 2.6 per cent this year and 1.3 per cent in 2018.”

The area’s manufacturing sector has been leading the way, growing by nine per cent in 2016 alone and averaging 6.2 per cent growth over the last half-decade. The report says the weak Canadian dollar has helped that by making exports cheaper for foreign purchasers.

The construction industry has been aided by government projects like improvements to the Ruskin Dam. Projects like the widening of Highway 1 in Langley and the building of a new courthouse in Abbotsford will both help, the report says, while the uptick in new home building will also bolster the economy.

Just Posted

More extreme weather beds needed in Mission

Council allocates another $5,000 to help keep people safe, warm and dry

Trial begins for man charged with 2010 murder of Mandy Johnson

Langley single mom was fatally shot while in vehicle in Abbotsford

KPU campuses go smoke-free starting Jan. 21 – and that includes vaping

‘We didn’t make this decision lightly’ says prez of the Surrey-based institution

City wants to know about danger quakes pose to Abbotsford’s dike system

City commissioning report to examine seismically unstable flood protections

Woman charged in Abbotsford mall stabbing served time for 2001 killing

Victim in Edmonton killing was stabbed eight times with kitchen knife

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

Teachers’ union votes for non-confidence in school board

Lack of action after embattled trustee’s comments created unsafe workplace, Chilliwack teachers claim

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

Food industry failing at voluntary sodium reduction: Health Canada

Health Canada report shows the food industry made no meaningful progress in curtailing salt levels

‘Mud Bay’ keeps on rocking the blues

Fraser Valley musicians celebrate 40 years of rocking good songs together

Best B.C. cities to live in: millennial edition

Other local municipalities score at bottom of list from real estate blog

Most Read