Victoria’s economy improving, but more jobs needed

Economic development officer Dallas Gislason said growth will occur in Victoria this year

Victoria’s economy is expected to grow faster in 2015 than it did in 2014, but more jobs are needed in the region, said Dallas Gislason, economic development officer for the Greater Victoria Development Agency at an economic development forum this week.

“Victoria is a very stable economy,” said Gislason. “I don’t think we’ll ever be a fast-growth economy, but we need to figure out as a community how to move that metre.”

In 2014, Victoria’s GDP growth was 0 per cent.

“If I took that to a few more decimal points, we actually did grow, but the way it’s rounded off it looks like 0.0 per cent,” said Gislason.

This year, Victoria’s GDP is expected to grow by 1.9 per cent. Gislason said one major reason for growth this year is the state of the U.S. economy.

“We do have growth occurring in the marketplace, we just need to capitalize on it.”

One of the large sectors in Victoria’s economy is the high tech sector. There are over 800 known high tech companies in the region, which brought in $3 billion in revenues in 2014 collectively.

This translates to $4 billion in economic impact, said Gislason.

“Victoria’s high tech sector is very much alive. The big companies are doing well, which translates to job creation, which actually creates momentum in other sectors because they all have suppliers that they work with.”

An important factor in improving Victoria’s economic development in the next year will be attracting skilled workers and creating jobs for those workers, said Gislason.

“It’s going to be really important for us to look at continued training and development, and also marketing our community as a place for talented individuals to come,” he said. “We just need to get bettter at creating jobs.”

Victoria ‘s unemployment rate in January was 4.8 per cent, compared with B.C.’s unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent.