FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – BC Business magazine has released their list of the Best Cities for Work in B.C., and the magazine says that though the Energetic City might be down, it hasn’t fallen far.
The list was compiled by Environics Analytics in Toronto, and measured seven factors to indicate the attractiveness of each community. Income growth in the past five years carried the largest weight towards each city’s score, at 30%. Average household incomes and the average annual per capita amount spent on housing each contributed 15%. The average incomes for those less than 35 years old, the per capita annual spending on recreation, the population growth in the past five years, and the unemployment rate all each weighed 10%.
Fort St. John and Dawson Creek both slipped one place in the magazine’s rating, but are still ranked 2nd and 3rd respectively on the magazine’s list. In last year’s edition the two cities sat in 1st and 2nd place, but were pushed down by the rise of Squamish from 4th spot last year. The city in Sea-to-Sky country has experienced more explosive growth than either of the Peace Region’s largest cities; Squamish grew by nearly 12 percent in the past five years, compared to Fort St. John’s growth of just under eight percent, and Dawson Creek’s increase in population of 8.86%.
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Fort St. John led the pack in both average household income and average household incomes for those under 35. The average household income was $133,213, while young people earn an average of $113,806 per year. These numbers stand in contrast to neighbouring Dawson Creek, where the averages for the same tallies were $101,411 and $77,315. Both cities also tied as having the highest unemployment rate on the list at 9.40%. Squamish meanwhile had tallies of $105,593 and $80,260 for its average household incomes. Fort St. John residents also outspent all other cities on the list in the recreation department by at least $1,500 per year.
Perhaps the most interesting rise on the list was that of another city in Northern BC. Terrace jumped up the list from 25th spot last year to 6th this year. Terrace had the largest average income growth rate on the list, at a whopping 26 percent. Kelowna placed fourth on this year’s list, ahead of Langley, which rounded out the Top 5.