British Columbia started 2020 with an enviable low unemployment rate of 4.5%.
But between March and April, the province lost 396,500 jobs, pushing the unemployment rate to 13.4% in May, due to pandemic lockdowns and travel restrictions, according to the B.C. government.
About 363,000 of those jobs were recovered by the end of 2020, reducing the unemployment rate to 7.2%.
“We’re just 32,000 jobs below the February level,” said Greg D’Avignon, president of the Business Council of British Columbia (BCBC). “We lost 20,000 part-time jobs and we gained 24,000 full-time jobs.”
But many of the new jobs created in 2020 were government-created public sector jobs, D’Avignon added.
The B.C. government added 30,000 jobs as it ramped up the hiring of 7,000 new health-care workers, hundreds of contact tracers and other public sector positions. The private sector is still 50,000 jobs short of where it was in February 2020, D’Avignon said.