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

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

Johann Oriana and Neo Moren paint a Yoshi head on June 11 at Salmon Arm Secondary’s Sullivan campus. (Zachary Roman - Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm Secondary grads create with parking lot canvas

Students paint the parking lot June 11, leaving their mark on the school

Canadian blues sensation Colin James will close down Saturday night, Aug. 14 of the 2021 digital Salmon Arm Roots Blues Festival. (Black Press Media file photo)
Salmon Arm’s Roots & Blues branches out for second online festival

Nine acts, including Colin James, Caleigh Cardinal, to perform on festival’s website Aug. 13 and 14.

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Seth Rogen’s vibrant orange sculpture was sold for $7,000 above Vancouver Art Gallery’s initial estimation at auction Tuesday. June 15. (Heffel Fine Arts)
Vase made by Seth Rogen sells for $12,000 at Vancouver auction

The B.C.-born comedian has a new pot habit and it’s paying off

BC Lions running back John White IV (3) runs with the ball during first quarter CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Saturday, September 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
BC Lions file trademark for new logo

Canadian Football League team files for new design on June 1

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Camper van explosion burns Vancouver Island gas station to the ground

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. The website for a Broadway theatre showing "Springsteen on Broadway" said it would only allow guests "fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved vaccine" — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
No Springsteen for you: AstraZeneca not good enough to qualify for Broadway ticket

Victoria area mayor among those unable to attend New York entertainment due to COVID-19 restriction

The crosswalk is at Third Street and Mackenzie and was installed on June 17. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
Painting a rainbow: First Pride crosswalk installed in Revelstoke

‘It signals to the community that this city is inclusive,’ Mayor Gary Sulz

Most Read