Economic activity continued to strengthen in the first half of 2017 as household spending, exports and business investment supported growth. Business outlays on non-residential structures, machinery and equipment, and intellectual property assets rose during the first two quarters of the year, following notable declines during 2015 and 2016.
Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased for eight consecutive months from November 2016 to June 2017 before stabilizing in July, with gains broadly based across industries. Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, manufacturing, and construction contributed to higher goods output during the first half of 2017, while wholesale trade, retail trade, and finance industries supported growth among services.
Employment continued to strengthen
Employment also continued to strengthen in the first half of 2017 on gains in full-time work. Higher employment among core-age workers accounted for about two-thirds of overall employment growth from January to June. British Columbia led employment growth among the provinces. Employment continued to increase in the third quarter, albeit at a more measured pace.
Overall, real GDP growth, measured year-over-year, increased steadily during the winter and early spring, before rising above 4% in May and June. Annual employment growth strengthened to 1.9% year-over-year in June, before rising above 2% during the summer months. As a result, output growth at mid-year 2017 exceeded employment growth by the widest margin since mid-2014.
Despite the pace of economic growth, consumer price inflation decelerated during the first half of 2017, slowing from 2.1% in January to 1.0% in June.
Total employment rose by 186,000 (+1.0%) in the first six months of 2017, led by gains in full-time work and among core-age individuals (aged 25 to 54). Gains among private sector employees accounted for about one-half of the total increase. Higher employment in services, supported by gains in professional, scientific and technical services and in health care and social assistance, accounted for over two-thirds of the overall increase.