BOW VALLEY – The Bow Valley’s arts, entertainment and recreation sector is one of the biggest economic drivers for the local economy, according to per capita job data provided by a Calgary consulting firm.
According to the data, approximately 45 jobs per 1,000 people are directly involved in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector in the Bow Valley, significantly more than in the Calgary region where there are only 13 jobs per 1,000 people in the same sector.
“One of the factors we use in determining if an industry is a ‘driver’ industry, or a support industry, is the number of jobs per capita,” wrote Darryl Howery, owner of Applications Management and Consulting Ltd.
“Typically, driver industries have a higher number of jobs per capita than the greater regional area indicating this industry is producing products/services that are used outside the local economy.”
Looking at the data, the biggest industry driver in the Bow Valley is the accommodation and food services sector, which accounts for nearly 135 jobs per 1,000 people.
In comparison, the same sector in Calgary accounted for just under 40 jobs per 1,000 people.
In Banff, one of the biggest economic drivers is the retail sector, however, when Canmore is included it is similar to the regional figure and therefore not considered a significant economic driver in the Bow Valley.
Thom Stubbs, owner of Headwater Group, which produced the Bow Valley Regional Housing Needs Assessment, said he wasn’t surprised by the findings, particularly because the sectors are directly connected to tourism.
“It reaffirms the Bow Valley’s role that it exports tourism to the region and internationally,” said Stubbs.
The study also analyzed data from the construction, health care and personal care services sectors, however, the per capita job figures were below the Calgary region, suggesting that these industries play a supportive role in the local economy rather than driving the local economy.
“One of things that propels an industry to be a driver industry is the prominence in the sub-region context as being a locus of economic activity,” said Howery.
“When we look at the number of jobs per capita in a particular industry sector and we see that those jobs per capita are lower than the greater region as part of the overall regional economy, that suggest to us that many residents in those communities, in this case, the Bow Valley, are actually getting those services from outside of the Bow Valley.”