Data from Statistics Canada shows the economy shed 200,000 jobs in January, but the unemployment rate in B.C. has returned to pre-pandemic levels at 5.1 per cent.
The unemployment rate in B.C. is the lowest in Canada, tied only with Manitoba.
“B.C. continues to lead the country in economic recovery, having recovered all jobs lost at the outset of the pandemic. In fact, B.C.’s employment is now 102.4 per cent, which is the highest in the country compared to pre-pandemic levels,” Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation Minister Ravi Kahlon said in a news release.
Kahlon added that the province has provided more than $525 million in support for businesses impacted by COVID-19.
“Owners of small and medium-sized businesses throughout the province have adapted their practices, innovated and pivoted to keep their workers and customers safe. As a result, 44,600 more people are now working in the private sector than prior to the pandemic.”
He said the province is pushing to add 7,000 healthcare workers, including 3,000 in-home and community care, for long-term care homes and assisted-living facilities, to strengthen the health system.
Unemployment rates in B.C. varied slightly by region with the lowest being Cariboo at 3.2 per cent, North Coast and Nechako at 4.3 per cent, Vancouver Island and Coast at 4.8 per cent, the Lower Mainland-Southwest at 5.4 per cent, Thompson-Okanagan at 5.9 per cent and the Kootenays at 6.4 per cent.
“While our economy continues to show strength, the pandemic has proven that we cannot continue with the old way of doing things if we want to build a stronger B.C. for everyone. Now is the time to chart a bold new direction for economic growth,” Kahlon said. “In the near future, we’ll be sharing our economic plan built for and by British Columbians that directs growth toward building an inclusive and sustainable economy by investing in our greatest asset: British Columbians”