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

Vernon mom Crystal Hedlund has launched a campaign called Sharing is Caring - Christmas 2020 in the Okanagan to bless five North Okanagan families with tons of Christmas goodies. (Photo submitted)
Vernon mom shares Christmas care

Crystal Hedlund heads up campaign to help make Christmas special for five needy North Okanagan families

(The Canadian Press)
‘Electric blue’ fentanyl sparks drug alert in Vernon

Interior Health issues alert based on testing; no reports of overdoses linked to specific substance at this time

The Baxter Bridge at the north end of Trinity Valley Road east of Enderby is open to all traffic Sunday, Nov. 22, but will close again Monday, Nov. 23, for more repair work. Monday is expected to be the last full-day closure of the bridge, which was shut down by the Ministry of Transportation to all but foot and light emergency vehicle traffic Nov. 8 due to structural issues. (Morning Star - file photo)
Baxter Bridge near Enderby reopens to all traffic

It’s a 24-hour opening 0f the bridge; last full-day closure is expected on Monday, Nov. 23

Two fibreglass bees were stolen from Vernon’s Planet Bee Honey Farm Nov. 22, 2020. (Facebook)
Thief buzzes off with bee sculptures from Vernon honey farm

Planet Bee lost two bee sculptures Sunday night

This homemade, hand-painted five-foot-high Grinch was taken from an outdoor Christmas display at a home near Fulton Secondary Sunday evening, Nov. 22. (Photo submitted)
Grinch steals Grinch from Vernon Christmas display

Owners saddened by theft of beloved homemade five-foot-high Grinch display from yard near Fulton

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

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

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

Penticton RCMP are looking to speak to this woman who allegedly spat on an employee at Skaha Liquor Store as well as dropping his phone on the ground. (Facebook)
WATCH: Unmasked Okanagan woman allegedly spits on employee, drops his phone

Penticton RCMP are looking for the woman who was refused service for not wearing a mask

Jason Townsend, wearing his Kelowna prospect patches. (Jason Townsend Facebook photo)
Trial dates set for two alleged Kelowna Hells Angels associates

Jason Townsend and Colin Michael Bayley will each stand trial on separate matters in May 2021

Most Read