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

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

RCMP Cpl. Cory Lepine pictured at BC Livestock Producers Co. in Kamloops, Nov. 16. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Meet B.C.’s only cowboy cop; a voice for the livestock industry

Cpl. Cory Lepine serves as a bridge between the law and those who make a living off the land

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League is mouring the death of former president Len Dergousoff of Salmon Arm. The longtime Revelstoke Grizziies board member, who was president from 1999-2002, lost a year-long battle with cancer at age 80. (Dergousoff family photo)
Former KIJHL president dies after cancer battle

Len Dergousoff, 80, of Salmon Arm, was longtime Revelstoke Grizzlies exec, president 1999-2002

Social media, including sites like Facebook, play an important role in contemporary society. (Dreamstime/TNS photo)
QUIZ: How much do you know about social behaviour?

Social conventions, including social distancing, are part of living in a society

A sow and her three cubs, reported on social media for several weeks to be living in Princeton, were destroyed by a Conservation Officer Saturday (File photo WildsafeBC - Facebook)
OPINION: Conservation officers don’t kill bears – we do

A mother and three cubs were destroyed recently in a Princeton residential neighbourhood.

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Long-awaited federal rent subsidy program for businesses hurt by COVID-19 opens today

The new program will cover up to 65 per cent of rent or commercial mortgage interest

Multiple protesters cited unsubstantiated claims about the virus and the belief that their “rights are being violated” as reasons for their attendance. (Jesse Day - Western News)
‘End the lock-down’ protesters hit the streets in Penticton

The group plans to gather every weekend until restrictions have been lifted, organizer says

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Kelowna’s Post-Modern Connection performs for Riot on the Roof on the top of the Vernon Parkade Saturday, Aug. 22. The band is scheduled to play in the “Live @ The KCT” series in Kelowna on Dec. 4. (Vernon Public Art Gallery photo)
Kelowna concert series moves online due to new health orders

Rebellious Unicorns series ‘Live @ The KCT’ has moved to an online model until further notice

Kelowna City Hall. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna city staff recommend allocation for nearly $8M provincial COVID-19 grant

Staff suggest the funds be used for lost revenues, support for the Kelowna International Airport

An Oceana Canada audit of Canadian fish stocks reveals a growing number with critical populations, calling on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to enact existing commitments. (File photo)
B.C.’s declining fisheries the result of poor DFO management: audit

Oceana Canada calls for follow through on government commitments

Most Read