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.

BC legislatureBC politicsCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

Saanich Fire Department. (Black Press Media file photo)
Fire displaces three Saanich families from two homes

Saanich firefighters found the fire had spread to a neighbouring home upon arriving

Oaklands Elementary’s Division 5 Grade 4/5 class posed with Leila Bui (middle), her dad Tuan Bui (crouching to her left) and mom Kairry Nguyen (right) after presenting the family with a cheque for $710 raised by the students during a necklace sale in December 2020. (Photos courtesy Kairry Nguyen)
Victoria students raise funds for girl seriously injured when struck by vehicle in crosswalk

Oaklands Elementary class contributes to purchase of all-terrain wheelchair for Leila Bui

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

Alphabet Zoo Early Learning Centre wants to relocate from Langford to 3322 Fulton Rd. in Colwood, but has not been approved for a P-6 zoning by Colwood council. Residents who neighbour the property, have expressed concern to the Goldstream Gazette regarding the potential daycare site. Neighbours Ryan Landa and Selene Winchester said the noise of construction has been disruptive to the area, and the property is not suitable for a daycare. (Photo contributed/Ryan Landa)
Proposed West Shore daycare stirs up controversy amongst neighbours

Neighbouring property owners are concerned about traffic, noise that a daycare would bring to the area

According to Statistics Canada, new housing starts and value of building permits in Greater Victoria rose in January 2021 compared to January 2020. (Black Press Media File)
New housing starts, value of building permits up in Greater Victoria

Cost of new housing also rising in region, now in excess of $1.15 million for a new detached home

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

Poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with more men believing equality had been achieved

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, left, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)
Race, title and anguish: Meghan and Harry explain royal rift

Meghan said she struggled with concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin colour

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is administered to a personal support worker at the Ottawa Hospital on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020 in Ottawa. Doctors in Alberta have signed an open letter asking for prioritized vaccination of health-care staff who work directly with patients on dedicated COVID-19 units. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
COVID vaccines for seniors in B.C.: Here’s how to sign up

Seniors 90+, Indigenous seniors 65+ and Indigenous Elders can book starting March 8

(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

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Most Read