What’s holding back the BC economy?

BC’s economy is tepid, with some pessimistic outlooks from business leaders.

So what’s holding us back? Why don’t we have a higher rate of innovation and a broader growth economy?

That’s the question asked by this BC Business article:

Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of Vancouver City Savings Credit Union, said complacency about the allure of B.C.’s climate, geography, and lifestyle may be one of the greatest risks. “Snow and mountains do not a business strategy make,” she warned. “I see for the first time in a decade, young people between 25 and 34 moving en masse to Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, because that’s where the jobs are,”  Vrooman said. “I’m quite concerned about our ability to grow our economy for the next generation if they can’t find gainful employment here.”

The numbers back her up. Statistics Canada figures show B.C. lost 18,900 full-time jobs in 2013. Yet even with fewer spots to fill, companies are finding themselves unable to find workers with the skills needed to grow their businesses. There aren’t enough graduates in high-demand fields, and B.C. wages for even those workers are often insufficient to offset the high cost of living.

Is this a chicken and the egg problem?  Businesses can’t afford to pay enough to bring in the talent that would grow business?  Or is there a complacency problem here, where the environment was always supposed to be enough to draw people in and they’d take a paycut to live here?

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jesse
Member

” young people between 25 and 34 moving en masse to Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, because that’s where the jobs are”

Does she have some data to support this? Interprovincial migration is about even, or a bit negative based on population cohorts for Vancouver (I don’t have data for 2013 yet):

https://twitter.com/YVRHousing/status/425484151962079232

I know people are leaving because of the economy and Gregor Robertson and Christy Clark and Ferrari driving teenagers and the rain and the low salaries but it appears about as many are entering the city from outside the province as are leaving. Add in international migration and I’m seeing more 25-34 year olds with every passing year.

Perhaps Ms. Vrooman needs to hit the streets and make their acquaintance. Call it the “welcome wagon” or something like that.

Dave
Member

I think a big problem here is NIMBYism.

There are hundreds of thousands of people in BC who make complaining and campaigning against everything a hobby. Try building something other than real estate in this Province. You can’t build natural gas pipelines, the Site C dam, oil pipelines, mines, roads, sell coal or do pretty much anything that creates jobs. You can’t even bottle and sell fresh sustainable water without people going nuts.

If we want jobs and job growth, we need to call the idiots out on their bullshit.

Son of Ponzi
Guest
Son of Ponzi

# 1.
I worked for VanCity.
It always was a place for young people getting their first job in banking and then moving up.
So, if this is no longer the case, she may have a point.
Maybe it’s you who should get out a more often.

Son of Ponzi
Guest
Son of Ponzi

#1
I think you’re confusing the thousands of foreign students, mainly from China, as the economic engine driving BC’s economic future.

Vancouver in the Rear View
Guest
Vancouver in the Rear View
Vancouver’s problem can be summed up in one sentence: You can’t eat the scenery. I’m in my mid-thirties, married, good job, wife with a good job. We are looking forward to leaving in the next 18 months. We are both employed full time in science fields and are at or near the top of our respective fields for our ages (early/mid thirties). The reality for us is that it is no longer about money anymore – though that is a driving feature. Our major problem is that the smart people have all left! We look around our respective workplaces are we are surrounded by boomers in their late 50’s, getting ready to retire. The bright young people who couldn’t get the great jobs (because there were very few of them) have all left town for brighter pastures, where you can… Read more »
Waiting to exhale
Guest
Waiting to exhale

@#5

There are many good reasons for young people to want to move out of the Lower Mainland. But wanting to move because, “there are so few people that are smart,educated,and employed that making friends is proving exceedingly difficult.”

Seriously? You sound like my 12-year-old niece. You might be educated and employed, but not very smart or mature if that is the main reason why you want to move out. Maybe it’s not other people maybe it’s you that is the problem.

condo_day_ftw
Guest
condo_day_ftw

I believe the data and my experience is probably just bad luck, but I am pretty shocked with how many of my friends have left in the past few years.

MM
Guest
MM

#2 – there are jobs outside digging up resources, which may surprise if you listen too much to Harper and Christy Clark. But those jobs require investing in education for wider population, much easier to keep people happy if they can make enough to buy a monster truck and granite countertops without too much school.

southseacompany
Member
southseacompany
midnight toker
Guest
midnight toker

Somebody posted a list of the 50 biggest companies in bc – I thought it was telling that about half of the top twenty were crown corps.

Also, in my limited experience most companies have outsourced as much as possible and would prefer to bring in contractors instead of hiring a fte. obviously this happens more in technology field, but tradesmen are not necessarily immune.

Vancouver in the Rear View
Guest
Vancouver in the Rear View
@#6, Seriously, I’m like your 12-year old niece? That’s real nice and adds SO MUCH to the discussion. What I can say for sure is that your niece has far more social insight then her aunt/uncle who posts on the Internet. The backhanded “look in the mirror you entitled jerk – you’re the reason you don’t have friends” comment was also incredibly clever; I’m sure all who read it are astounded by your rapier wit and cunning psychological insight. Way to win at the Internet and put me in my place! I’m such a better person for reading your comment! Of course social attributes aren’t the only reason we are leaving, but it’s become a big one! I am trying to make the point that there are other aspects to living in a community beyond whether one can afford a… Read more »
YVR
Guest
YVR

@11 “Have you ever known someone to move somewhere for a boyfriend/girlfriend?”

Yes, but usually they have the significant other in place prior to moving. People generally don’t just move from Vancouver because they are having difficulty finding a boyfriend or girlfriend. Do you have a set of friends waiting for you somewhere? Where do you plan on moving that will have the arts, business, politics, cultural events and sport to meet your needs? Pretty much the whole of Canada is in a real estate bubble and lacks the same things you crave. If you have an option to move to the US you might find what you are looking for.

patriotz
Member
@2: “You can’t build natural gas pipelines, the Site C dam, oil pipelines, mines, roads, sell coal or do pretty much anything that creates jobs. ” Which of course is bullshit. We’ve had a provincial government since 2001 which ostensibly is in favour of all these things (not that the previous one wasn’t, contrary to what some people claim), and most of these things have indeed been happening. I will give a example with regard to mining – pay a visit to Princeton some time. There are many others. Natural gas pipelines? A new one was built across southern BC circa 2003. Are any more being held up? Roads? Does Gateway ring any bells? Have they built any new bridges to Surrey lately? Coal? What was that TFW controversy in the NE all about? What was the train that derailed… Read more »
RealityCheck
Guest
RealityCheck

Dollar close to hitting 89 cents. Soon, new car purchases will be out of your reach.

Meanwhile our prime minister seems more concerned with Muslims and Israel.

tedeastside
Member
tedeastside

strip away people selling houses to each other and there isn’t much of anything going on in vancouver,

vancouver has no economic base to speak of so people are more likely to chase real estate fortunes this erodes the economic base even further as capital that would be investing in useful business is used to speculate on real estate, and the vicious cycle and economic erosion continues

patriotz
Member

@14: “Dollar close to hitting 89 cents. Soon, new car purchases will be out of your reach.”

People were buying new cars back when the CAD was 60 cents US.

One thing to note is that auto manufacturers don’t sell for the same USD price everywhere, they set the price to maximize profits in a given market. So when the CAD falls, that does not mean an automatic price increase proportionately. They are in business to sell cars after all.

gordholio
Member
We’re Number One!!! http://ca.news.yahoo.com/canadian-patients-wait-longest-see-family-doctors-020953240.html I will add to this a couple of personal experiences. 1) When my mother, who was living in a care home at the time, fell and seriously hurt her hip about six years ago, she was forced to wait – in a fetal position – for three hours in a HALLWAY at Surrey Memorial before a doctor even looked at her. Two hours after that, they finally moved her into an overcrowded room. 2) When I hurt my shoulder so badly two years ago that I couldn’t even stand up (or sit down or essentially move at all) without screaming in total agony, I was forced to wait four hours at Peace Arch Hospital before an Emerg doc finally checked on me. And even then they wouldn’t give me an X-ray (which it turned out I… Read more »
Son of Ponzi
Guest
Son of Ponzi

The predicted culture clash is causing people to move.

midnight toker
Guest
midnight toker

for shits and giggles, check out http://www.glassdoor.com

they show you salaries for jobs at large companies

based on job title, it looks like I’m actually doing pretty good. Shit.

Son of Ponzi
Guest
Son of Ponzi

Check out A.Shuchat’s report on price drops in Richmond and Vancouver West.

http://www.shuchatgroup.com/blog.mobi

Son of Ponzi
Guest
Son of Ponzi

#20
the much heralded River Green development in Richmond appears to be in trouble.
Many units remain unsold, and the many are being discounted.

UBC in crisis mode
Guest
UBC in crisis mode

What BC economy? BC has NO economy, except banking and house flipping.

YLTNboomerang
Member

Forget BC economy, the whole country’s screwed…Bombardier is cutting 1700 jobs or 6% of the aerospace division:

http://business.financialpost.com/2014/01/21/bombardier-inc-job-cuts-tuesday/

space889
Member
space889
I think most entreupeurs who start business in BC either have the end goal of selling it out to a bigger business for a handsome amount of cash ASAP, a more pump and dump mentality, or no ambition to take the risk and grow it bigger once they hit a certan mark & comfort zone. I used to hear that if you want $$$, career, and success, move east to Toronto. If you want to enjoy life and no stress, stay in Vancouver and enjoy the weather. So there is that mentality as well. However I think US west coast also have that mentality but they still pump out a lot of large industries and companies. Lastly, this best place on Earth mentality has really gotten into people’s head and it becomes justification to just pay less to rank and… Read more »
how?
Guest
how?

@Son of Ponzi

how is it in trouble? phase one sold out and is now built.

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