BRITISH COLUMBIA – Canadian employment lost 63k jobs in December (-0.3 per cent, m/m), representing the first decline since April 2020. This comes on the heels of many provinces reinstating public health measures that closed recreational facilities and in-person dining services. The decline was led by part-time employment, specifically among youth aged 15 to 24 and those 55 and above.
Employment declined in all provinces except for BC. The national unemployment rate ticked up by 0.1 percentage points to 8.6 per cent, which is still a fall from the record high of 13.7 per cent in May 2020. Compared to the same month last year, Canadian employment was down by 3.0 per cent (-572k).
In BC, employment grew by 3.8k (0.2 per cent, m/m) in December, following a gain of 24k in the previous month. The province continues to be at 99 per cent of its pre-COVID February employment level. The unemployment rate ticked up by 0.1 percentage points to 7.2 per cent, the first increase since the record high of 13.4 per cent in May 2020. Meanwhile, in Vancouver, employment decreased by 1.1k (-0.1 per cent, m/m). Compared to one year ago, employment in BC was down by 1.4 per cent (-37K) jobs.
Despite rising cases of COVID-19 across the country, employment in BC bucked the trend and grew in December. Industries that saw the largest increases were construction and manufacturing, while like the rest of the country, employment fell in accommodation and food services. On the whole, we can expect national employment growth to come to a standstill as caseloads and hospitalizations increase, leaving many provinces to extend restrictions and partial lockdowns.