B.C. economy falls 3.8 percent in 2020 in biggest contraction since 1982 recession

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      B.C.’s economy fell 3.8 percent in 2020, representing the biggest downturn in four decades.

      A report by Statistics Canada describes the decrease as the “largest contraction since the 1982 recession”.

      The decline was largely caused by the COVID-19 shutdowns and lockdowns.

      Statistics Canada said in a report Monday (May 3) that real gross domestic product declined in every province in 2020, with the exception of Yukon and Nunavut.

      The economies of Yukon and Nunavut grew on account of gold and silver mining.

      As for B.C., Statistics Canada said that 15 of 20 industrial sectors posted lower output because of pandemic restrictions and shutdowns.

      “The decline was almost entirely driven by services-producing industries (3.75 of 3.83 percentage points), with the decline in goods-producing industries the smallest among all provinces,” the federal agency reported.

      Government restrictions affected air transportation (-72.5 percent), urban transit systems (-47.6 percent), support activities for transportation (-22.8 percent), accommodation and food services (-31.1 percent), health care and social assistance (-8 percent), and arts, entertainment and recreation services (-39.6 percent).

      Meanwhile, credit intermediation services grew 4.8 percent, and real estate services increased 4.1 percent.

      Goods-producing industries edged down (-0.3 percent). Manufacturing decreased 7.1 percent, with 16 of 19 subsectors reporting declines.

      In the other direction, construction activity grew 4.2 percent, following a nine percent increase in 2019, Statistics Canada reported.

      “Oil and gas engineering construction was up 27.4%, as work on the LNG Canada project and the Coastal GasLink pipeline accelerated,” the agency stated.

      Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction grew 0.6 percent. Conventional oil and gas extraction edged up 0.3 percent. Copper, nickel, lead and zinc ore mining rose 39.8 percent. Coal mining was down 17.3 percent.

      In its report, Statisitics Canada noted that closures and restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic “affected almost every segment of the Canadian economy”.

      “For most provinces, the economic contraction in 2020 was the most severe observed in 40 years,” the federal agency stated.

      Canada went through a recession in 1981-1982, with B.C. suffering an economic decline of five percent.