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

Chilliwack’s Ryan Wugalter with his kids, three-year-old Mira and 15-month-old Solomon. Wugalter recently released his children’s album Super Giraffe. (Submitted)
Chilliwack father releases children’s album, songs about superhero giraffe and not eating magnets

Inspiration for Ryan Wugalter’s new album ‘Super Giraffe’ came from his two young kids

(Black Press - file photo)
WEATHER: Enjoy the sun today, prepare for a week of rain

Clouds and rain to arrive by evening, Environment Canada forecasts

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

The 2021 city-wide literacy event this year is a reading challenge for Chilliwack. (Chilliwack Literacy Society)
City-wide reading challenge goal for Chilliwack is to create a reading habit

The 2021 city-wide literacy challenge runs March 1 to 21 all for the love of reading

Dr. Vera Nyirenda of Chilliwack is being awarded with a National Congress of Black Women Foundation 2021 Legacy Award on Saturday. (ncbwf.org)
Chilliwack doctor recognized during Black History Month for contributions to health care

Dr. Vera Nyirenda awarded with National Congress of Black Women Foundation 2021 Legacy Award

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

Judith Uwamahoro is Black, approximately 4’7″ tall, 80 pounds and has short black hair and brown eyes. (Surrey RCMP handout)
UPDATED: Lower Mainland 9-year-old located after police make public plea

Judith Uwamahoro went missing Friday at around 4 p.m. in Surrey

Five-year-old Nancy Murphy wears a full mask and face shield as she waits in line for her kindergarten class to enter school during the COVID-19 pandemic on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Variant of concern linked to COVID-19 outbreak at three Surrey schools

Cases appear to be linked to community transmissions, but schools will remain open

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

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

Inez Louis, who is strategic operations planner with the health department in the Sto:lo Service Agency, talks about infection control in the latest YouTube video about COVID-19 created in partnership with the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and the Chilliwack Economic Recovery Network. (YouTube)
VIDEO: Nurse Inez Louis explains how infection control is not social control

The difference is important for Indigenous people to hear in the context of Canada’s colonial past

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after Friday cancellations due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

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

Most Read