SOURCE: Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia


May 24, 2017 09:30 ET

Job creation expected to continue in Southwest B.C.

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - May 24, 2017) - As the economic powerhouse of the province, Southwest B.C. has enjoyed consistent growth over the past five years, as the region's economy diversified and its service sector expanded. According to CPABC Regional Check-Up in 2016, Southwest B.C. created 69,100 new jobs, reaching a record of 1.54 million positions that made up 94 per cent of all the new jobs created in B.C. As a result, unemployment in Southwest B.C. also fell to 5.5 per cent, the lowest in the province.

The majority of these new jobs were created in the region's service sector, particularly in the trade and the information, culture and recreation industries. Visitors are a major source of retail activity, and the number of international travellers to B.C. increased by 10.8 per cent in 2016. Therefore, it was not surprising that B.C. retailers saw their sales increase by 6.4 per cent, increasing their labour demand.

A growing film-making and production centre, Southwest B.C. has attracted movie and television production activity in recent years, which bolstered employment in the information, culture and recreation industry by 13,500 jobs in 2016, the largest increase in at least a decade.

Continued population growth and demand for housing also propelled employment in the finance, insurance, real estate and leasing, and the business, building and other support services industries, adding over 18,000 jobs. In 2016, 54 per cent of the 46,463 new Southwest B.C. residents came from outside the country. This contributed to a hot housing market, and bolstered Southwest B.C.'s consumer demand and retail employment.

The hot housing market also led to a creation of 7,700 jobs in the construction industry. This was the largest increase in five years, and was largely driven by activity in the residential and non-residential commercial sector. Housing starts in 2016 set a new record for the Vancouver Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), with strong rental and condo construction in Vancouver, New Westminster, and Surrey. The other industry which saw positive job gains in the goods sector was the manufacturing industry with 700 new jobs. Together, the jobs created in both industries helped to offset the loss of 2,300 jobs in other industries of the goods sector.

Despite a slight cooling of the housing market and global economic uncertainties, employment in Southwest B.C. will likely continue to grow in 2017. The region's economy will continue to benefit from a diversified economy, its proximity and close ties with the Asian market, growing high technology sector, and the subsequent opportunities for trade and knowledge sharing. In fact, by the end of the first quarter of 2017, employment has grown by another 15,100 jobs.

Report Highlights:

  • Southwest B.C.'s youth unemployment rate fell by 2.4 percentage points to 7.9 per cent in 2016, the lowest in B.C.
  • Capital investment between September 2015 and September 2016 increased by approximately 2.0 per cent to $72.5 billion. Altogether, 65 per cent of Southwest B.C.'s projects in the third quarter of 2016 were commercial and residential.
  • The number of reported business bankruptcies fell by 3.1 per cent to 94 reports. Over the past five years, the number of reported business bankruptcies in the region has steadily declined, suggesting a more stable and favourable environment for businesses.

About CPABC Regional Check-Up ­- Mainland/Southwest:
Southwest B.C. or the Mainland/Southwest Development Region is comprised of the Greater Vancouver, Sunshine Coast, Squamish-Lillooet, and Fraser Valley Regional Districts. This Development Region accounts for over 61 per cent of the provincial population.

The CPABC Regional Check-Up reports look at British Columbia's eight Development Regions as a place to work, invest, and live. The reports are available online at:

About CPA British Columbia
The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the training, governing, and regulatory body for almost 35,000 CPA members and 5,000 CPA students. CPABC carries out its primary mission to protect the public by enforcing the highest professional and ethical standards and contributing to the advancement of public policy. CPAs are recognized internationally for bringing superior financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight, and leadership to organizations.

Contact Information

  • For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
    Vivian Tse
    Public Affairs Specialist
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