Skip to main content

B.C.'s unemployment rate dips to pre-pandemic levels, lowest in Canada

Condo towers are seen in downtown Vancouver on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. (Darryl Dyck / THE CANADIAN PRESS) Condo towers are seen in downtown Vancouver on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. (Darryl Dyck / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Unemployment rates in B.C. have dipped to pre-pandemic levels for the first time since March 2020.

In a news release Friday, Labour Minister Ravi Kahlon said B.C.'s unemployment rate was 5.1 per cent last month, which was the lowest rate across the country, tied with Manitoba. In December, B.C.'s unemployment rate was 5.4 per cent, according to Canada's Labour Force Survey.

Before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, B.C.'s unemployment rate was five per cent in February 2020. It quickly rose to 7.2 per cent the following month when the pandemic hit.

By May 2020, the province reached a high of 13.4 per cent. At the time, officials connected that high figure to economic slowdown from the province's COVID-19 response.

"B.C. continues to lead the country in economic recovery, having recovered all jobs lost at the outset of the pandemic," Kahlon said in the news release.

"In fact, B.C.’s employment is now 102.4 per cent, which is the highest in the country compared to pre-pandemic levels."

On a local level, three regions saw unemployment rates decrease. In Vancouver, the rate dropped slightly from 5.8 per cent to 5.7 per cent. Victoria also saw a decrease from 4.3 per cent to 3.8.

Abbotsford-Mission's rate decreased substantially from 7.4 per cent to 5.4, the latest Labour Survey results show.

On the other hand, Kelowna saw a significant increase from 5.7 per cent in December to 7.2 per cent in January.

In total, 4,200 jobs were created across B.C. last month.

"In the past two years, we’ve been through some of the most challenging situations of our lifetimes, but we have made it through by leading with kindness, determination and resiliency," Kahlon said.

"I want to thank all British Columbians for everything they are doing to keep each other safe and healthy. It’s because of your collective actions that I know brighter days are ahead for us all." Top Stories

Stay Connected