Kelowna’s lakefront visitor centre is one of 130 around the province. (Destination B.C.)

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

B.C. service industries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic are showing the strongest signs of recovery, Finance Minister Carole James says.

The official unemployment rate for B.C. remains at 13 per cent based on Statistics Canada totals for June, but that is partly due to more people having the confidence to look for work as the B.C. economy reopens, James said July 10. Youth unemployment is up slightly to 29 per cent, another sign of job seekers coming back in the hardest-hit areas of the economy.

Statistics show 118,000 additional jobs in B.C. from May to June, with half of those in the accommodation and food service industries that were directly affected by COVID-19 health orders. It’s an encouraging start, but net job losses for B.C. since the pandemic restrictions began remain at 235,000, James said.

“I think it’s a good sign that you’re seeing that 50 per cent increase in jobs coming from those sectors,” James told reporters in a broadcast from the B.C. legislature. “We’re starting to see, as we encourage British Columbians to safely and cautiously travel within the province … They’re providing support to accommodation. I know that the Okanagan is talking about how busy they are this summer.”

RELATED: Canada adds 953,000 jobs in June, unemployment rate falls

RELATED: B.C. residents regaining confidence, John Horgan says

Ken Peacock, chief economist for the Business Council of B.C., said the June employment numbers are a pleasant surprise, with the first full month of the province’s restart bringing almost triple the employment increase seen in May. But of the 118,000 new jobs, 102,000 were part-time.

“Now it’s not surprising that companies are rehiring people on a part-time basis rather than jumping into full-time hours,” Peacock said in an interview with Black Press Media. “And also when you look at the sectors that were hit, you see more part-time in food services, accommodation services, some of the tourism activities.”

The one area that continues to see declines is manufacturing, which Peacock said is an indication of B.C.’s export economy in a global pandemic.

“We know our forest products sector is hurting, mining activity is probably being dampened as we speak because of the global slowdown, so I’m going to be watching that manufacturing number and some of the export elements closely in the next few months,” Peacock said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Kelowna Fire and Rescue gear up for annual ‘Fire in the Mountains’ initiative

WKPF is offering one individual the opportunity to spend up to 3 days with their firefighter hero’s hiking or paddling in one of BC’s pristine wilderness environments

Kelowna’s Sutherland Salvation Army thrift store closes permanently

The location has been facing challenges amid COVID-19

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Drowning incidents increase in Okanagan as summer picks up

There are now 23 drownings in the province to date, with four from the Okanagan

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Local state of emergency declared near Okanagan home

Slope failure cited as City of Penticton issues notice at home in 600 block of Heather Road

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

Therapeutic art for sale at Okanagan show

17th annual Awakening the Spirit Art Show and Sale presented by Vernon Canadian Mental Health Assoc.

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Tech mogul growing North Okanagan’s wine industry

The founder of online dating site Plenty of Fish is developing 900 acres in Vernon

Fentanyl-laced powder being sold as cocaine in Kamloops

Interior Health has released a warning about very strong fentanyl in Kamloops

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

North Okanagan ranch needs support to stay afloat

Founded in 1867, a fundraiser has been launched for the Historic O’Keefe Ranch

Most Read