B.C.’s hotel, restaurant, retail, entertainment and tourism sectors will be devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, the provincial economy will plunge to levels not seen in almost a century, and 500,000 people could lose their jobs, according to a new analysis.
The B.C. Business Council released its full economic projections Friday, which estimate an unprecedented decline of between seven and 12 per cent in province’s gross domestic product in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“There’s about half a million people in retail accommodation, food services, entertainment and leisure, and I would think most of those jobs will be gone in a relatively short period — most of them already are,” said Jock Finlayson, council executive vice-president.
“That’s where the carnage will be most visible and concentrated. But there will be knock-on effects to other industries, where the demand for whatever they produce or sell has declined quite considerably. So you don’t take out thousands of business and hundreds of thousand of jobs without having these knock-on consequences.”