BRENDA Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation, reacting to the release of Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey for August 2023 on Friday, noted: “B.C.’s economy is holding steady with the growth of 12,000 jobs in August. So far this year, B.C. has added 25,600 jobs. The monthly unemployment rate for B.C. is 5.2%, which is the second-lowest in the country and below the national average.”
She added: “In August, jobs in education increased, which is good news for families with children in public schools and child care. B.C. saw a boost in transportation and warehousing jobs, too, a positive sign for people and businesses following the July port strikes.”
Bailey said in a statement: “This year’s devastating wildfire season continued in August. The Province continued to deploy thousands of personnel to suppress wildfires and support communities, and issued a provincial state of emergency. August’s increase in public-sector employment likely reflects increased firefighter and emergency response personnel.
“We understand the stress and economic challenges faced by many people, communities and businesses, as B.C. experiences a record wildfire season, slower global economic growth and high interest rates. The Bank of Canada held its interest rate at 5.0% as there is growing evidence that higher interest rates are weighing on economic activity.
“During global economic headwinds, B.C. benefits from its diverse, resilient economy. Employment has continued to grow by 1.5% this year, and the Future Ready Action Plan is helping people get the skills they need for in-demand jobs.
“Ambitious infrastructure and housing plans are boosting construction throughout the province, and B.C.’s housing starts are up 17% year to date to July compared to 2022, the highest in Canada.
“Public Accounts demonstrated that B.C. is in a good position to weather challenges. In the past year, B.C. helped with costs for people, strengthened infrastructure and services for the long term and eliminated our operating debt. Smart investments like this will help as we navigate the expected global economic slowdown.
“To promote innovation and economic prosperity in B.C., the government has invested $6.5 million in research infrastructure through the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF), supporting 27 post-secondary projects. The BCKDF aims to improve B.C.’s productivity and competitiveness, leading to benefits such as commercialization, patents, better environmental management, new discoveries and job creation.”