FINANCE Minister Carole James on Friday, in response to the release of Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey for June 2020, said: “The monthly labour force numbers for June continue to show signs of our province’s gradual economic restart, with more than 118,000 people finding jobs last month. Employment gains in May and June have recovered 40% of the total jobs lost since February.”
But she noted: “While these numbers are encouraging, the road ahead is a challenging one, as total job losses since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic remain at 235,000. B.C.’s June unemployment rate is down 0.4% since May at 13.0%. The rate stood at 5.0% at the start of the pandemic in February.”
James added: “Women are more likely to have lost their job due to COVID-19 than men, and youth unemployment remains high at a staggering 29%. However, the significant number of youth who entered the labour force in June is a sign of growing confidence that people can return to work safely.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged and changed our province. Thousands of families, young people and businesses continue to struggle to make ends meet. That’s why it was essential that we acted quickly to put supports in place through our COVID-19 Action Plan. Our focus on restarting B.C.’s economy in a safe, responsible manner has also been a key contributor to our success in both battling the pandemic and gradually turning our economy around.
“The co-operation and resiliency shown by people throughout B.C. in fighting back against COVID-19 continues to make a huge impact, and thanks to British Columbians, we were recently able to shift to Phase 3 of our four-phase restart plan.
“As we build an economic recovery plan for our province, we are listening to the ideas of British Columbians on how to build back a stronger B.C. so everyone has a good job and secure future.”
THE B.C. Liberals said that the new jobs numbers show the NDP needs to bring forward a recovery plan for B.C. as the unemployment rate remains stuck at over 13 per cent.
BC Liberal Jobs Critic Jordan Sturdy said that while it is good news to see more British Columbians back working, far too many remain out of work and, with over 100,000 of the jobs being part-time, a long-term recovery plan is needed immediately.
“We’re at over 13 per cent unemployment in B.C. and with the majority of jobs being part-time, the long-term jobs outlook for B.C. is a major concern for people,” said Sturdy. “As the fight against the pandemic continues, British Columbians desperately need the NDP to develop and deliver an economic recovery plan to get us back on track. A survey just doesn’t cut it.”
While the number of employed British Columbians grew slightly, B.C. now has the fourth-highest unemployment rate in Canada. Given B.C. has done better than most in combatting the virus, it is disappointing the economies of other jurisdictions appear to be bouncing back faster and stronger, said the B.C. Liberals.
“In less than three years, B.C. has gone from having the lowest unemployment rate in Canada to being the fourth-highest,” added Sturdy. “It’s clear NDP policies were hurting B.C. families before the pandemic. Unfortunately, we’ve seen no action from this government that will give people any comfort with an actual plan to bring prosperity back to the province — because it’s clear they don’t.”
The BC Liberals said they have sent Premier John Horgan and the NDP 13 policy letters with over 60 suggestions and ideas to get B.C.’s economy back on track and save jobs. To date, the NDP have done nothing but ask British Columbians to fill out more forms.