How We Crunched the Numbers
To determine the Best Cities for Work in B.C., we examined 10 economic indicators with a variety of weightings, including seven carried over from last year and three new ones. This year the weighting was shifted slightly from lagging economic indicators, such as income growth, to more forward-looking, or leading, indicators like housing starts. Each city received a score out of a total of 100 points and is ranked accordingly.
Average household income (maximum score of 10 points)
This figure represents the average for 2018. To determine a score out of 10, we gave the top average income 10 points and scored the other cities in proportion to that.
Average household income under 35 (10 points)
This value represents the 2018 average household income for primary income earners under the age of 35. Again, we gave the top average 10 points and scored the other cities in relation to that.
Five-year average household income growth (15 points)
This number represents the percentage income growth from 2013 to 2018. Assuming a floor of zero, the top value received 15 points, with the other cities scoring accordingly.
Average household spending on recreation (10 points)
This indicator measures household spending on all leisure tracked by Statistics Canada, from concerts and sporting events to recreational vehicles and home entertainment systems. Giving the city with the highest average recreation spending a 10, we ranked the others in relation to it.
Average shelter spending (10 points)
This figure covers recurrent housing-related living expenses, such as mortgage payments, rent and utilities, for 2018. The city with the lowest average shelter spending received a score of 10, with the other cities scoring in inverse proportion.
Average value of primary real estate (5 points)
This value measures the average price of primary real estate (i.e., not including secondary or recreational properties). We gave the lowest value 10 points and scored the other cities in inverse proportion.
Average commute time (10 points)
This indicator provides the average one-way commute time, in minutes, for all members of the employed labour force aged 15 and older. The city with the lowest average duration received a score of 10, with the other cities scoring in relation to that.
Five-year population growth (10 points)
This figure represents the proportional population growth of each city from 2013 to 2018. We limited the floor to zero and scored cities out of a maximum value of 10.
Housing starts per 10,000 residents (10 points)
This value is derived from the year-to-date housing starts from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.'s monthly Starts and Completion Survey to the end of September 2018. Housing starts are divided by the total city population and multiplied by 10,000 to give the number of housing starts per 10,000 residents. The city with the highest number of housing starts per 10,000 residents received a score of 10, with the other cities scoring in relation to that.
Unemployment rate (10 points)
This number is the unemployment rate from Statscan's Labour Force Survey for September 2018. We gave the lowest unemployment rate 10 points and scored the others in relation to that.
tion could make it easier for companies to lure and retain skilled labour, and attract investment. Conversely, continually rising prices may accelerate the economic and population growth seen in cities such as Kelowna and Victoria in recent years. However, as housing in these second-tier urban centres becomes less affordable in turn, there could be a beneficial knock-on effect for the province’s smaller centres.
Recent trends in oil and gas suggest that the Northeast is poised for an economic rebound. With fossil fuel prices gradually rising and the LNG Canada consortium moving ahead with its Kitimat export terminal for liquefied natural gas, the production centres of Fort St. John and Dawson Creek will share in the rewards—as will communities on the North Coast.
Driving these trends is a growing global economy, with the International Monetary Fund calling for steady expansion in 2019. That could bring more prosperity to B.C. communities, as foreign countries and their residents become increasingly important to the province’s centres of immigration, tourism, education and trade. But given international trade worries and uneven global economic expansion, it remains unclear how B.C. may benefit.
Regardless of how your city fared in this year’s ranking, keep in mind that many of those in the middle scored very close to one another. And in a province with a healthy economic outlook, spectacular landscapes and ready access to the great outdoors, even the lowest-ranking cities have much to offer.
Category weights shown in brackets. Full methodology on page 33