CPABC: Cariboo B.C. goods sector further hampered by COVID-19

Cariboo B.C. natural resource employment down nearly a third compared to last year

PRINCE GEORGE, British Columbia, Oct. 29, 2020 (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, the Cariboo’s labour market was challenged by ongoing issues within the natural resource sector and the COVID-19 pandemic. The region’s unemployment rate hit 10.4 per cent in Summer 2020 (June to August) – the highest summer unemployment rate since the recession in 2009. 

“Before the pandemic hit, the region’s workforce had experienced stable, low unemployment for several years,” said Stan Mitchell, CPA, CA, partner at KPMG. “The situation has rapidly reversed, with one of every thirteen jobs eliminated compared to last summer. Thankfully, the situation improved in September, but worryingly, thousands remain unemployed and the entirety of job losses are now full-time positions which are the primary drivers of our economy.”

Since employment bottomed out in May, the Cariboo has seen four consecutive months of job gains including 2,400 positions returning in September. Despite the increase, the region’s employment remains well below pre-crisis levels. Total employment stood at 79,000 positions in September, down 3,000 from the same period last year (-3.7%). The decline was led by the reduction of 5,700 full-time jobs, which was partially offset by a gain of 2,600 part-time jobs. 

Employment in the goods sector accounted for the majority of the job losses, falling 10.7 per cent. The hardest hit industry was the natural resource sector, which includes the region’s forestry and mining industries, with nearly one in three jobs gone in September compared to last year. Meanwhile, manufacturing employment provided stability to the region, managing to increase over the past year (+5.3%), and strong gains in the construction workforce in September brought employment in the industry to near pre-crisis levels (-1.4%).

“Our region’s natural resource sector had been facing challenges prior to the pandemic, such as weak commodity prices, pine and spruce beetle infestations, forest fires, and business closures,” continued Mitchell. “The pandemic has amplified the challenges facing our natural resource sector, with many of the pre-pandemic challenges remaining in place and being offset to some extent by increasing commodity prices as a result of demand outstripping supply. As the goods sector drives the region’s economic health, it is critical we provide it with the support needed to help our sustainable economic recovery.”

Unemployment rate (%)6.26.810.410.5
Employment (1,000s)82.98276.679
Part-time (1,000s)14.314.116.416.7
Full-time (1,000s)68.66860.262.3

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

About CPA British Columbia
The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the training, governing, and regulatory body for over 37,000 CPA members and 5,000 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.


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