B.C. unemployment rate jumps to 11.5 per cent in April

B.C. unemployment rate jumps to 11.5 per cent in April

B.C. Minister of Finance Carole James during a visit to the South Okanagan (File photo)

Dale Boyd

Osoyoos Times

Job losses have nearly double since March in B.C. with an unemployment rate of 11.5 per cent in the province.

In March and April there were 396,500 jobs lost in B.C.

“And let’s remember, those jobs are people, they are families, they are businesses” said Finance Minister Carole James, who updated the province on employment numbers Friday.

Employment declined in all provinces for the second month in a row according to the most recent monthly labour survey.  In B.C., nearly half (47 per cent) of job losses came from the food service and retail.

Compared with February, employment declined by more than 10 per cent in all provinces, led by Quebec (-18.7 per cent).  James noted that the unemployment rate prior to the pandemic was just five per cent.

“Every sector of the B.C economy has been hit and many B.C. families are reeling,” James said.

In its first week, more than 400,000 British Columbians have been approved to receive the $1,000 provincial emergency benefit for workers.

With some sectors of business poised to reopen in the new normal with the province’s phased-in restart plan in the coming months, James said there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“Recognizing our province’s strong economic fundamentals, we are working to build a robust rebound for B.C. and with everyone’s continued co-operation and confidence, we will get there.”