Job numbers show cautious optimism with long road ahead: B.C. finance minister
The greatest losses have been in the service sector
VICTORIA — Statistics Canada’s labour force survey for June shows 118,000 people in B.C. found jobs and the unemployment rate fell slightly to 13%.
Finance Minister Carol James said July 10 the latest numbers paint a picture of cautious optimism with a long road ahead on B.C.’s path to recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gains in May and June bring back about 40% of the total number of jobs lost since the start of the pandemic in February, when B.C.’s jobless rate was 5%, she told a news conference.
The greatest losses have been in the service sector, but James said that’s also where jobs are being added as accommodation and food services accounted for half of last month’s gains.
Despite positive signs, James said thousands of people and businesses are still struggling, and net job losses stand at 235,000.
She said youth unemployment in particular stands out at 29.1%, up slightly since May, while 45,000 young people did find jobs last month.
Women in B.C. are also more likely to have lost their job due to COVID-19 than men, James said.
She said the high jobless rate in June reflects increased demand for jobs and confidence that people will have the opportunity to return to work once they start looking again.
James also mentioned the loss of international visitors in the tourism sector, particularly in Metro Vancouver and Victoria, as a factor.
Businesses are restarting cautiously, she added.
“They’re making sure that their employees are safe, they’re making sure their customers will be safe, and people are starting to see that confidence by going back to businesses.”
James is set to provide more information next week on the post-pandemic spending B.C. has made so far, as well as updated revenue and deficit forecasts.