A couple of years of solid gains in the number of newly incorporated businesses in BC is consistent with a generally upbeat assessment of the state of provincial economy. Last year saw a total of 37,934 new incorporations in the province, a record high that amounted to an 8.5% increase in the number of newly incorporated businesses. This follows a similar-sized gain in 2014. As suggested by the accompanying graph, fluctuations in incorporations tend to follow the business cycle – the 2008-09 recession is reflected in a steep decline in incorporations over that period. Interestingly, incorporations in the province did not regain their pre-recession level until 2014.
New incorporations also reflect regional economic variations. In 2015 nearly all of the increase in new incorporations in BC was in the lower mainland/southwest development region (which includes Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Squamish-Lillooet and the Sunshine Coast). All other regions in the province recorded a decrease or a negligible increase in business incorporations. In recent years, the expansion in economic activity in the province has been concentrated in the lower mainland, a point that is further reinforced by the regional pattern of incorporations. Note, however, that at the sub provincial level, incorporations do tend to move around from year-to-year. Even though all regions outside of the lower mainland saw few if any gains last year versus 2014, incorporations are generally up in all parts of BC over the past two or three years.