To evaluate B.C.’s Best Cities For Work, we looked at six economic indicators, each weighted differently, that we believe reflect the health of a city’s job market. Each statistic was divided or multiplied to come up with a score suitable to its weighting.
1. Five-year average household income change. This figure represents data from 2010 to 2015. We present the actual percentage growth, with a floor of 0 and ceiling of 30 to arrive at a score out of 30 (30% of total score)
2. Average household income. This figure represents data from 2015. We took the raw number and divided it by 10,000 to arrive at a score out of 15 (15% of total score)
3. Average household income under 35. This figure represents the average household income for household maintainers, or primary income earners, under the age of 35 in 2015. Again, the score is derived by taking the number and dividing it by 10,000 to get a number out of 15 (15% of total score)
4. Five-year population change. This figure represents data from 2010 to 2015. We present the actual percentage growth, with a floor of 0 and ceiling of 10 to arrive at a score out of 10 (10% of total score)
5. Unemployment rate. This figure uses the unemployment rate from the September 2015 Labour Market Survey. We took the number 10 and subtracted the community’s unemployment rate from it to arrive at a score out of 10, with a floor of 0 and a ceiling of 10 (10% of total score)
6. Percentage of households with university degrees. We took this percentage for the year 2015 and capped the score out of 20 (20% of total score)
A note about exclusions: We only considered cities with more than 10,000 permanent residents. We excluded bedroom communities, such as West Vancouver, Port Moody and White Rock, which have high incomes but relatively small job markets. And we didn’t consider UBC, which technically is its own jurisdiction.
Finally, it should be mentioned that while we believe Environics Analytics' data is the best available, it is not without its limitations. Our income numbers, for example, are produced using Statistics Canada and Canada Revenue Agency data projected forward to 2015. And the unemployment rate uses figures from Statistics Canada’s September 2015 Labour Force Survey, which only calculates a regional number and will not reflect changes that occurred in the latter half of 2015.