Population growth continues to strengthen Vancouver Island’s economy

VICTORIA, British Columbia, June 05, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to the Regional Check-Up report by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC), the Vancouver Island/Coast enjoyed another year of solid economic expansion due to continued population growth.

The region’s population grew by 1.4 per cent or 11,822 residents to 857,144 in 2018, although growth has slowed from previous years due to a decline in the number of new residents from other provinces, in particular Alberta, which has seen some economic recovery. Continued growth in population led to steady increases in demand for the region’s services.

“Our service sector added 14,300 jobs last year. Seven of our 11 service industries expanded in response to population growth and strong service demand. Not surprisingly, employment in retail services, health care and social assistance, and public administration saw the largest job gains in the service sector,” said Chuck Chandler, FCPA, FCA, partner at Grant Thornton LLP in Victoria.

Population growth also continued to support the housing market in the Vancouver Island/Coast. Despite declines in housing sales for the second consecutive year, average housing prices continued to climb, increasing by 7.3 per cent in Victoria. The total value of building permits also increased by almost 10 per cent, largely due to higher residential spending.

“Despite slower housing activity across the region, the real estate market continued to drive much of our economic expansion in 2018. Industries related to real estate, such as construction and finance, insurance, real estate and leasing, continued to grow, indicating ongoing demand and confidence in our region’s market,” noted Chandler.

Given the steady population growth and ongoing tourism activity, it was surprising that the region’s accommodation and food services industry lost 4,200 positions. One explanation could be related to labour shortages across the region, which made it difficult for businesses to recruit lower level jobs. In 2018, Vancouver Island/Coast employers reported an average of 12,430 vacancies per quarter, which was 21.5 per cent more than the prior year.

About CPABC Regional Check-Up ­– Vancouver Island/Coast:
The Vancouver Island/Coast Development Region encompasses Vancouver Island and the central coast of the B.C. mainland from Powell River to Ocean Falls and Bella Coola. The Development Region makes up approximately 17 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: www.bccheckup.com.  

About CPA British Columbia
The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the training, governing, and regulatory body for over 35,000 CPA members and 5,000 CPA students and candidates. 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.

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