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British Columbia’s job market roars back as COVID-19 restrictions lifted

Arial photo of downtown Vancouver in Yaletown during a colourful sunset

British Columbia’s job market is back!

According to recent employment data from Statistics Canada, BC surpassed its pre-pandemic employment levels last month. With 42,100 positions gained in June, there are now 17,000 more jobs in the province than in February 2020. And BC’s unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the country at 6.6%. The national average currently sits at 7.8%.

BC was the only province in Canada to see employment above its pre-pandemic level.

The most job gains were seen in accommodation and food services, followed by health care and social assistance.

“Since moving to Step 3 of BC’s Restart Plan, even more opportunities have opened for people and businesses,” said Ravi Kahlon, BC’s Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “There is a renewed sense of optimism throughout the province, which is showing in our economy as more people travel, ‘Buy BC’ and ‘Support Local’ in their communities.”

On July 1, BC moved to Step 3 of its four-step plan to reopen the province and relax restrictions which meant that casinos and nightclubs were allowed to reopen with reduced capacity and a return to normal for sports and exercise facilities. It also meant a return to normal for fairs, festivals and trade shows, a return to Canada-wide recreational travel and a return to normal hours for liquor service at restaurants, bars and pubs.

“Step 3 is a major milestone for British Columbians,” Kahlon said. “We can now resume more of the activities and occasions we enjoy, workplaces and businesses will have more flexibility, and it opens the door for more economic activity as we transition into summer.”

Nationally, Canada’s labour market continues to rebound from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After two consecutive months of job losses, the country added 230,700 positions in June. So far, Canada has recovered 89% of the jobs lost during the pandemic.

And as COVID-19 restrictions continue to ease across the country, the outlook is bright.

“In the coming months, the further easing of public health restrictions is likely to result in a continuing re-opening of the economy and the resumption of business activities,” the Statistics Canada report states. “These changes, by creating new opportunities for both workers and employers, could be expected to result in an increase in the level of labour market churn, or the number of workers becoming newly employed, changing jobs or leaving the labour force to pursue other interests.”

 

Published on July 14, 2021.