Unemployment rate drops in B.C. but most gains in part-time work

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B.C. added about 27,000 jobs in February, with the majority of the new positions going to women, but nearly all new jobs were part-time, according to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey.

The province’s unemployment rate dropped by 1.1 per cent to 6.9 per cent last month, but is still well above the pre-pandemic rate of 5.1 per cent. The jobs create were largely in retail and educational services, according to Stats Canada.

“While this does not mean all sectors are back to full strength, it does mean that even as our tourism and hospitality sectors continue to struggle, our economy is growing,” said Ravi Kahlon, minister of jobs, economy recovery and innovation.

Unemployment dropped for both men and women over 25, with men now experiencing slightly higher unemployment (5.7 per cent) compared to women (5.5 per cent). Male labour force participation rate stands at 70 per cent, with female participation at 60.5 per cent, a slight drop from January. 

Tourism-related sectors in B.C. are down over 40,000 jobs compared to before the pandemic. 

“There continues to be significant help needed by this sector, from small family-owned tour agencies to large exhibition venues, all decimated by the pandemic,” said Teresa Wat,  BC Liberal critic for tourism, arts and culture.

The national unemployment rate dropped 1.2 per cent to 8.2 per cent between January and February.

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