Despite reopening, unemployment rate in B.C. is still going up - InfoNews

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Despite reopening, unemployment rate in B.C. is still going up

Finance Minister Carole James.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Province of B.C.
June 05, 2020 - 10:11 AM

Despite the fact that 43,000 new jobs were started in B.C. during one targeted week in May, the unemployment rate in the province hit 13.4 per cent, up from 11.5 per cent the month before.

“We are beginning to see some glimmers of increased confidence but we also know we have a long road ahead of us to recovery,” Finance Minister Carole James said during a news briefing today, June 5.

The numbers are based on a Statistics Canada report posted today with data for the week of May 10 to 16, before B.C. started relaxing its COVID-19 lockdown.

Since the pandemic started there have been 353,000 jobs lost in the province with 115,000 being amongst younger people where the unemployment rate has hit 28.9 per cent.

That reflects the fact that the accommodation, food services, wholesale and retail trade sectors have been hit the hardest, accounting for 46 per cent of the total job loss, James said.

“Those numbers are families,” James said. “They’re individuals. They’re small businesses that have struggled and continue to struggle as we move into recovery.”

James didn’t break down the numbers by region but Statistics Canada shows the unemployment rate in the Kelowna census metropolitan area climbed to 9.6 per cent in May versus 8.1 per cent in April and 4.2 per cent in January.

That rate is for the entire month, not the one week period James was referring to.

For the Thompson-Okanagan region, the unemployment rate for May climbed half a per cent to 9.5 per cent. It was 5.5 per cent in January.

That means unemployment in the Thompson-Okanagan is about half of what it is in the rest of the province.

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