With timber supply declining from now to 2030, B.C.’s forest industry is in a major transition, but 2020 has seen strong lumber prices. (Black Press Media)

With timber supply declining from now to 2030, B.C.’s forest industry is in a major transition, but 2020 has seen strong lumber prices. (Black Press Media)

B.C. job recovery continues, rural regions leading the way

Technology, resource industries perform well in pandemic

B.C. added 34,000 jobs in October, after increasing employment in the previous five months as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada.

The federal agency’s labour force survey has recorded job growth for B.C. of over six months, bringing overall employment back to near February levels. While forest, mining and large-scale construction have kept employment strong in B.C.’s rural regions, urban areas and businesses hit by travel restrictions still see little or no relief in sight.

The latest results are better than expected for industries that escaped most of the pandemic effects, said Ken Peacock, chief economist for the Business Council of B.C. That includes strong growth in professional, scientific and computer services, as well as industries outside B.C.’s main metropolitan areas of Metro Vancouver, Victoria, Abbotsford and Kelowna.

“When you add up what I would call limited impact sectors, government, public administration and health care, but also manufacturing and forestry and mining, the resource sectors have held up well,” Peacock said in an interview with Black Press Media Nov. 6. “Agriculture was another strong spot in the most recent job market report. Employment in those industries is actually up five per cent since February.”

When the four major urban areas are taken out of the provincial numbers, the rest of the province shows an employment increase of almost three per cent compared to the pre-pandemic conditions of February, where the province’s economy was leading the country and the B.C. government was still looking at surpluses. The census metropolitan areas of Kelowna, Abbotsford and Victoria are still down 2.5 to five per cent, due mainly to their concentration of consumer services like accommodation and food services, Peacock said. The effects are felt most in Metro Vancouver, where 100,000 jobs haven’t come back.

“Basically, we’re in a world when all the job losses now are concentrated in Metro Vancouver,” he said.

RELATED: Canada adds 84,000 jobs in October

RELATED: B.C. tourism looking to rapid testing

Another major driver of employment for rural B.C. comes from its major projects that have carried on through the pandemic, LNG Canada, the Coastal GasLink and Trans Mountain pipelines and the Site C dam in northeast B.C.

Premier John Horgan greeted the latest employment figures with enthusiasm, noting that B.C.’s unemployment rate falling to eight per cent for October puts it well below the national average.

“This is the sixth consecutive month where we have seen significant job creation in B.C., bringing total employment to 97.6 per cent of our pre-pandemic levels in February,” Horgan said in a statement. “However, the numbers, while welcome, do not fully reflect the continuing serious hardship in some sectors of the economy. We know there is much more to do as some businesses are still struggling.”


@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

The school is very proud of these students (pictured, left to right): Halim Demir (holding Grace Valdez’ gold certificate); Lauren McIlwain, Shayleen Mack, Jaymen Schieck, Kyle Doiron, and Finn Carlson (photo submitted)
SAMS students excel in international competition

The SAMS team swept their category this year; all six participants received awards

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

The avalanche came down on the highway sometime Sunday evening (Feb. 21) (Dawson photo)
Road to Bella Coola wharf reopens after large avalanche

The road was closed after a large avalanche covered a significant portion of the highway

Jenni Mueller lives near the wharf on the other side of the avalanche. She took this photo and thinks the avalanche happened around 8 p.m. last night (February 21). (Jenni Mueller photo)
Avalanche closes road to wharf at Bella Coola

A day and night of heavy rain resulted in avalanches across the region

Fisheries and Oceans Canada released it's 2021 Pacific Herring Integrated Fisheries Management Plan Feb. 19. (File photo)
Northern herring opportunities kept to a minimum

2021 management plan caps Prince Rupert fishery at 5 per cent

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

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

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

Most Read