A new report from The Conference Board of Canada projects a positive outlook for the New Brunswick forest sector in 2017.
Robert Meyer-Robinson, industrial economic trends economist with the conference board, presented a forest sector economic update at the Forest NB Annual General Meeting in Fredericton last week. The report reveals that forestry is playing a pivotal role in strengthening the province’s economy through significant GDP growth contribution.
According to Meyer-Robinson, the latest data shows that New Brunswick’s forest sector has the largest contribution toward the province’s shared GDP at 3.5%, three times the national average.
The report also shows that the forest industry has greatly boosted the province’s export sector. Meyer-Robinson says exports are at their highest level since 2007.
“Recent recovery in exports has been largely driven by the logging and wood products industry,” he said. “All different segments here, forestry and logging, wood and paper products have all recovered to pre-recession levels, which is a good indication.”
Meyer-Robinson attributes the province’s economic upswing to increased investments in the forest sector. Employment is also on the rise, as the conference board’s data reveals that wood and paper products industries have created approximately 750 jobs in New Brunswick since 2012.
Despite anticipated trade restrictions due to an on-going dispute regarding the Softwood Lumber Agreement, Meyer-Robinson says the outlook for New Brunswick’s forest sector remains positive, largely due to increased investment by industry stakeholders.
The conference board projects forestry will continue to contribute to the province’s real GDP growth.
“The Conference Board of Canada expects New Brunswick will grow by 1.2% in 2017,” Meyer-Robinson said.