09/04/2012 07:56 EDT | Updated 04/30/2013 03:15 EDT

Young British Columbians Head To Alberta For Jobs, Affordable Homes


It's called the "Alberta Advantage" for a reason.

The Vancouver Sun is reporting that British Columbia's 20-something residents are leaving the province in droves, many of them coming to resource-rich Alberta for a chance at jobs and affordable housing.

A look at the numbers recently released by B.C. Stats shows that close to 2,600 people left B.C. for other provinces in 2012's first quarter; almost 700 more than had left the province just one year earlier.

"Everything is so expensive, not just housing but it's everything," Vancouverite Jessica Roberts-Farina told the Vancouver Sun about her reasons to head one province east.

B.C. economist Helmut Pastrick told Vancouver Sun columnist Barbara Yaffe those leaving B.C. are often young people and young families who are looking for better job opportunities and affordable housing.

A recently released report from the Fraser Institute, titled "Measuring Labour Markets in Canada and the United States in 2012," found that Alberta is the North American leader in labour market performance, scoring an 8.9 out of 10.

The study came to that finding by equally weighting average total employment growth, average private-sector employment growth, average unemployment rates, average duration of unemployment, and average labour productivity.

Study author Amela Karabegovic told the Calgary Herald that Alberta, "has done a better job of attracting jobs and investment to their province."

"Job growth, low unemployment rates, and high labour productivity are affected by government policies such as taxation for example. Policies such as fiscal prudence. How well a province has managed their budgets. Do they incur deficits and so on?"

And although Karabegovic says Alberta's labour market is doing well thanks to government policies in place, there are signs Saskatchewan and British Columbia are making strides.

"The challenge (for Alberta) is to stay the most attractive province when it comes to job creation and investment," she added.

Between July 2011 and July 2012 employment in Alberta grew 2.2 per cent, adding 45,700 people to the workforce and posting the highest rate of growth in Canada.

B.C. currently has the highest unemployment rate of Canada's western provinces at 7 per cent - just shy of the national average of 7.3 percent. Alberta's unemployment rate is currently the lowest in Canada, at 4.6 per cent.

Alberta also has an advantage for those who seek affordable housing. According to the eight annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey, Vancouver's median house price was $678,500 while median income was $63,800. Compare that to Calgary's median income of $91,499 and median house price of $353,700.

Photo gallery Major Economies With The Highest Unemployment See Gallery
Photo gallery Canada Housing: What $350,000 Will Buy You Across The Country See Gallery