Friday, June 19, 2015

Eighties Economy

Still looking the era of the eighties, we see by graphs - none of which I have to show you -that while most Vancouverites do not work directly in the resource extraction industries, it does affect all of us. During this decade, $17 billion in exports left BC ports and those came primarily from the industries of forestry, mining, fishing and agriculture. 

The service industry made up 70% of the BC economy in 1989. This industry first rose to cater to the people who had come to BC to extract its natural resources. Gold and coal miners, fisheries and forestry workers dominated the early economy of the province. And someone had to supply them.

When the gold rushes started and men came to parts of BC to make their fortune, the really smart ones were those who started businesses to supply the miners. Those miners may not ever find their gold but they still needed supplies.

In 1969, the "goods producing" sector, consisting of resource extraction industries plus manufacturing, construction and utilities made up 40% of the province's gross national product. Twenty years later, in 1989, that level had dropped to 30%.

The "service producing" sector continued to grow in importance and approached the $50 billion level in 1989. Included in this sector is the tourist industry, which was greatly increased by Expo 86.  The revenues from that alone reached $4 billion. A breakdown is as follows: Public Administration and Defence, under $4 billion; Transportation, Communication and Storage, almost $7 billion; Wholesale and Retail trade, over $8 billion; Finance, Real Estate and Insurance, $13 billion; and Community Business and Personal Services, over $15 billion.   

A breakdown of the good producing sector is as follows: Construction, less than $5 billion; Other, about $6 billion - this represents the combination of mining ($1.9 billion), utilities ($1.8 billion), forestry and logging ($1.7 billion), agriculture ($0.6 billion) and fishing and trapping ($0.3 billion). Manufacturing, which includes sawmills and pulp mills was almost $10 billion.

Following the 1981 recession, the provincial government was under the leadership of Bill Bennett. Bennett recognized the importance of diversifying our economy and making BC less dependent on a single factor such as resource extraction.

Bennett invited foreign investors to place their money in BC. Asia answered Bennett's invitation and in the 3 years between 1988 and 1990, Asians invested a total of $6 billion in the province. During the same time period, an economic downturn struck most of the rest of the county. Thanks to some quick thinking, BC got through the recession of the late 1980s with relative ease.

Thanks to the book, Vancouver, a Visual History by Bruce Macdonald for the above information.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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