VANCOUVER -- Healthy growth is forecast for British Columbia through 2023 by Central 1, the financial services partner for 250 credit unions across Canada.

The Vancouver-based firm predicts growth of 4.2 per cent this year, 4.5 per cent in 2022 and just below three per cent in 2023.

Chief economist Bryan Yu says growth will be fuelled by recovery in the export and investment industries as the roll out of COVID-19 vaccines continues.

The positive signs include continued demand for housing and the related increase in residential investment, along with an expected jump in consumer consumption this year, before it steadies by 2023.

Yu maintains his earlier prediction that hospitality and many service industries won't fully recover before 2023.

He says tourism employment will continue to lag far behind pre-pandemic levels even as B.C. regains 89 per cent of the jobs that disappeared in other industries when the virus hit last year.

The Central 1 forecast pins much of B.C.'s expected economic grown on rising goods exports.

“Positive export and manufacturing trends continue, reflecting the strengthening global growth profile and stronger commodity price conditions,” Yu says in the Central 1 statement.

The coal and natural gas sectors are also expected to expand over the same period, and Yu predicts stronger global demand and high commodity prices will push production.

“For example, growth of more than 10 per cent is expected for machinery and equipment and building investment this year,” he says.

His outlook is tempered by the caution that growth is closely tied to the success of vaccine deployment across Canada and the potential spread of mutated COVID-19 variants.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2021.