Issue 16-95: Gross Domestic Product by Industry

May 16, 2016

British Columbia’s economy expanded 3.0 in 2015, with the province leading all other regions in terms of economic growth for the first time since 1997 (the first year for which comparable data are available). Ontario (+2.5%), Northwest Territories (+2.5%) and Manitoba (+2.3%) also posted strong growth in 2015.

Nationally, real GDP increased a modest 0.9%, as five regions, including the two other territories, slipped into recession. Alberta (-4.0%), which has been ranked among the fastest-growing regions in the country since 2010, fell back to last place in 2015. The economies of Newfoundland and Labrador (-2.2%) and Saskatchewan (-1.4%) also contracted. The downturn in the energy sector, which contributed to the weakness in these economies, was largely the result of a significant slowdown in activities such as drilling and oil & gas field services provided by the mining services industry.

In British Columbia, GDP growth slowed in the goods-producing industries, falling from 3.4% in 2014 to 0.5% in 2015. Mining, quarrying and oil & gas extraction (-7.8%) lost ground, as mining support activities plunged 35.4%, while mining and quarrying slipped 6.9%. British Columbia’s oil and gas extraction industry (largely gas extraction) posted a 4.0% gain.

The construction industry expanded a modest 0.6%, as solid gains in residential (+8.8%) and non-residential (+3.8%) building construction activities were largely offset by an 11.5% decline in the engineering construction industry.

At the same time, real GDP was up significantly in agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, & trapping (+6.2%) and utilities (+3.1%). Manufacturers continued to make gains, with real GDP expanding 2.5% on the heels of a 3.6% increase in the previous year. Among the three largest manufacturing industries, GDP rose in food (+7.8%) and wood product (+4.6%) manufacturing, but the paper (-0.6%) industry slowed down after surging ahead (+8.6%) in 2014.

In the service sector, GDP increased 3.8%, with most industries showing strong growth.

Educational services (+6.9%) were back on track in 2015, following a downturn (-4.1%) that was largely due to a work stoppage in the previous year. Retail trade (+6.3%); transportation & warehousing (+5.0%); finance & insurance (+5.0%); real estate, rental & leasing (+4.9%); arts, entertainment & recreation (+4.9%); accommodation & food services (+3.5%); and professional, scientific & technical services (+3.1%) all outpaced the provincial average.

GDP growth was somewhat slower in wholesale trade (+2.5%); administration, support, waste management & remediation (+2.1%); health care & social assistance (+1.7%); and public administration (+0.8%).

Information and cultural services (-0.4%) was the only major service-sector industry to post a decline in 2015. Downturns in the broadcasting (-4.2%), publishing (-2.2%) and telecommunications (-0.1%) industries were only partly offset by 3.6% growth in the estimated GDP of the motion picture and sound recording industries. Telecommunications accounts for about 60% of total GDP in information and cultural services.

Source: Statistics Canada