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CPABC: Greater Victoria unemployment down to 4.4% but employment below pre-pandemic levels


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VICTORIA, British Columbia, Nov. 03, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — According to the BC Check-Up: Work, an annual report by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) on employment trends across the province, Greater Victoria’s unemployment rate fell to 4.4 per cent in September 2021, down from 9.6 per cent in September 2020. As of September 2021, total employment across the capital region reached 206,400, a 1.2 per cent increase compared to September 2020.

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“Economic activity has picked up in Greater Victoria over the past year, helping the region add 2,500 jobs,” said Lindalee Brougham, FCPA, FCA, FCGA, principal at Grant Thornton LLP. “However, the decrease in the unemployment rate is also due to former job-seekers leaving the labour force, and total employment remains below pre-pandemic levels.”

Overall, Greater Victoria’s workforce was 2.7 per cent smaller in September 2021 compared to September 2019, and unemployment remained well above the 3.5 per cent in that month. The number of people actively employed or searching for work has also failed to return to pre-pandemic levels. In September 2021, the participation rate was 62.0 per cent, down 3.0 percentage points from September 2019.

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“A decline in the number of people looking for work puts additional pressure on businesses looking to hire, contributing to the rising shortage of labour we have seen in Greater Victoria,” continued Brougham. “The recovery has also been uneven, with employment in the service sector much more robust than the goods sector which has been hampered by a decline in the construction industry’s workforce.”

The service sector workforce increased by 7,000 positions in September 2021 compared to September 2020, strengthened by increases in the hospitality (+67.7 per cent) and the entertainment (+61.5 per cent) workforces. Despite the strong gain over the past year, employment in Greater Victoria’s hospitality industry was the same as in September 2019.

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Total employment in the goods sector declined to 22,800 in September 2021, a job loss of 4,500 positions year-over-year. This was primarily due to a 17.1 per cent decline in employment in the region’s construction industry.

“Over the past year, Greater Victoria has seen a rise in labour demand while simultaneously a decline in the number of job searchers,” concluded Brougham. “This mismatch will put downward pressure on our economic recovery. Going forward, it will be important to find ways to reduce barriers for those looking to re-enter the labour force, such as greater access to childcare, and skills-training for industries facing the greatest labour scarcity.”

Greater Victoria Sep-19 Sep-20 Sep-21
Unemployment rate (%) 3.5 9.6 4.4
Employment 212,200 203,900 206,400
Participation rate (%) 65.0 65.9 62.0

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To learn more, see www.bccheckup.com . Data is from Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey, follows a moving three-month average and is not seasonally adjusted.

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About CPA British Columbia
The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the training, governing, and regulatory body for over 38,000 CPA members and 6,000 CPA students. CPABC carries out its primary mission to protect the public by enforcing the highest professional and ethical standards and contributing to the advancement of public policy. CPAs are recognized internationally for bringing superior financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight, and leadership to organizations.

For more information: Vivian Tse, Manager, Communications 604.488.2647 [email protected]

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