The total gross domestic product of all the city's enterprises is approximately $3.86 billion, according to the statistics released in the Nanaimo and Region Economic Indicators Report Thursday.
Sasha Angus, CEO of the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation that commissioned the report, said in a news conference that the city's GDP makes up approximately 2.1 per cent of the province's total, which is which is "quite remarkable" considering the community's size.
MNP LLP, on behalf of the NEDC, produced the report, the first of its kind in the region, that consists of a series of economic indicators that provide detailed information on economic statistics, regional demographics, business activities, business investment opportunities, commercial and residential real estate and other areas of economic concern.
Among the highlights of the report are that the region's unemployment rate is trending downward, academic achievement rates are one of the best in the province for the size of the community, building permits in the Regional District of Nanaimo continue to outpace other jurisdictions in the province and the region's knowledge-based sector is growing faster than provincial averages.
But Angus acknowledged that, like many other jurisdictions in the province, the report indicates Nanaimo and the region are facing growing problems with demographics in that the local population is aging so there's a growing need to attract "bright young minds" here.
He said that with projections that 95 per cent of new population in B.C. will come from immigration, the region needs to work hard to make it more welcome to newcomers. Mayor John Ruttan, who attended the news conference, said he was "surprised" when he was told of the region's high GDP.
"It's very exciting to know that our region alone produces $3.86 billion in economic activity in the province," Ruttan said.
"It's larger than I expected.
This report provides us with benchmark numbers so we can finally see from year to year where we stand economically and that's very useful information."
The report states that Nanaimo's economic recovery is showing signs of continuing into the first half of 2013.
It points out that the forest industry, which has been in decline for years due to the weak American demand, is recovering which is leading to increases in employment in the sector and renewed investment. The report also indicates that the nature of Nanaimo's economy is changing.
"Manufacturing in the region has declined while health care, education, public administration and accommodation and food services have grown," the report indicates.
The report can viewed in full at www.InvestNanaimo.com.
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