Gross domestic product grew 3 percent in B.C. in 2015, the fastest since 2006, on gains in real estate, retailing and manufacturing. Output in Alberta fell by 4 percent on the energy rout, making it Canada’s worst performer. The oil-producing province had led a year earlier, when it posted 4.5 percent growth.
British Columbia was also the top province in a jobs report last week, with its unemployment rate falling to the lowest in Canada for the first time in records back to 1976. The changing fortunes of the two westernmost provinces will continue this year, with economists surveyed by Bloomberg predicting Alberta’s GDP will fall 0.9 percent compared with 2.6 percent growth in British Columbia.
That divergence may widen further with oil-sands production in Alberta hampered over the past week by wildfires that forced more than 80,000 people to flee their homes.
Canada’s economy is in a transition away from energy production after a crash in oil prices. The central bank says gains will be led by other industries aided by a lower currency and rising U.S. demand.
The manufacturing-rich provinces of Ontario and Quebec showed respective expansions of 2.5 percent and 1.1 percent last year, Statistics Canada said.
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British Columbia took over as Canada’s economic star Thursday, with government figures showing it grew the fastest among 10 provinces last year while Alberta’s output fell to last place on lower oil prices.