Jobs numbers are once again up in British Columbia as the province slowly works through the COVID-19 recovery.
Statistics Canada said Friday that 3,800 net jobs were added to the provincial economy. Overall, B.C. added 24,000 full-time jobs while 20,000 part-time jobs disappeared. This is the eighth straight month B.C. has seen an increase in jobs.
The accommodation and food services sector continues to be battered by public health orders that limit the spread of the virus. It lost 7,400 jobs from November to December.
The province is getting closer to recovering all the jobs lost in the last year. About 36,700 fewer British Columbians were employed in December 2020 than in December 2019.
“B.C.’s total employment has now bounced back to 98.7% of pre-pandemic levels, but certain sectors like tourism and hospitality are still struggling,” Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon said.
“We are also seeing disproportionate impacts on people of colour who are both business owners and employees.”
B.C. continued to buck the national employment trend in December.
Statistics Canada said the national economy lost 63,000 jobs last month while the unemployment rate edged up to 8.6 per cent compared with 8.5 per cent in November.
British Columbia’s unemployment rate rose slightly, from 7.1 per cent to 7.2 per cent.
“There is reason for hope in the long term as independent economists predict B.C. will lead all provinces with the highest gross domestic product growth in 2021 and the lowest unemployment — but only if we are successful in bending the curve and reducing transmission,” Kahlon said.
B.C.’s construction sector continues to perform well, adding 6,600 jobs in the past month. The finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing sectors shed 5,700 jobs.
Amid ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the information, culture and recreation sectors are still treading water, losing 1,500 jobs from November to December.
In Metro Vancouver specifically, 7,900 jobs were lost last month.
– with files from the Canadian Press