Construction of an office and residential building in Victoria in 2019. B.C. kept construction going during the COVID-19 pandemic and has avoided retail and restaurant restrictions seen elsewhere in Canada. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

Construction of an office and residential building in Victoria in 2019. B.C. kept construction going during the COVID-19 pandemic and has avoided retail and restaurant restrictions seen elsewhere in Canada. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. unemployment rate climbs as COVID-19 drags on

Recovery stalled here, going backwards in Ontario, Quebec

B.C.’s net gain of 2,800 jobs in January is better than most places in Canada, but that’s a statistical blip as the overall unemployment rate rose from 7.2 to eight per cent, the Business Council of B.C.’s chief economist says.

“I think it’s pretty clear that the recovery process has stalled out here,” Ken Peacock told Black Press Media Feb. 5. “After the initial surge when things opened up to some degree, we saw the big bump, but I never expected it to continue, and I think we’re now at that time.”

Statistics Canada’s monthly labour force report contrasted B.C.’s positive results with big job losses in Ontario and Quebec as their COVID-19 spread prompted a shutdown of non-essential retail and other businesses. B.C. is hanging on, keeping restaurants and pubs as well as hair salons and other services open with public health restrictions.

RELATED: Canada’s unemployment rate highest since August

RELATED: B.C. extends COVID-19 restrictions through February

“The fact that we had a more nuanced and targeted approach that actually didn’t shutter non-essential retail or even restaurants, it definitely contributed to us having, not a strong jobs report, but much better than other parts of the country,” Peacock said.

Manufacturing and agriculture jobs are actually up in B.C. since January 2020, before the spread of the novel coronavirus from China forced measures that flattened travel and tourism-related business around the world.

“Our province’s economic recovery will not fully take hold until vaccinations have been fully administered, which is why it is critically important we do everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus,” B.C. Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon said in a statement on the monthly job numbers.

Nationally, the labour force survey found that Canada lost more than 210,000 jobs in January, bringing the unemployment rate to 9.4 per cent, the highest since August 2020. The January losses put Canada 4.5 per cent short of the employment level in pre-pandemic Canada last February.

Peacock said the delays in vaccination and the target to have most of the population immunized by next September means little short-term improvement for hospitality and tourism work.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Coldstream’s Kalamalka Secondary has teamed up with Globox on a fundraising raffle for its graduating class of 2021. (Photo supplied)
Coldstream secondary school grads glowing over fundraiser

Globox giving away five gift boxes worth about $6,000 in raffle, proceeds to Kal’s Class of ‘21

Vernon’s Jim Cotter (left) and Steve Laycock of Saskatoon will try to rebound Sunday, March 7, at the Tim Hortons Brier Canadian men’s curling championship in Calgary after an opening-game defeat. (Black Press file photo)
Team B.C. bows in Brier opener

New Brunswick uses hammer to score two in 10th end for 7-5 win over Steve Laycock

Multiple people were injured at a Vernon home following an early-morning break-in Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Multiple people left injured following break-and-enter in Vernon

Police believe the early-morning break-in was targeted and not a threat to the general public

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

A Coldstream resident who found an owl struggling on her property in March 2021 is now spreading awareness of about the knock-on effects of rodent poisoning. (Kathy Renaud photo)
Coldstream owl ‘fighting for her life’ after ingesting rat poison

Coldstream resident warns against the use of rodenticide due to risk of secondary poisoning in raptors

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Isaac Gilbert is running for council in the by-election for Jake Kimberley’s vacated seat. (Submitted)
First candidate for Penticton council by-election makes himself known

Isaac Gilbert is making a second run at council after receiving 19.63 per cent of the vote in 2018

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna General Hospital

One patient and one staff member on Unit have tested positive for the virus.

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

Most Read