CPABC: Northeast B.C.’s goods sector employment down over a quarter in September

FORT ST. JOHN, 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, Northeast B.C. saw its workforce shrink by 6.3 per cent to 37,100 jobs in Summer 2020 (June to August) when compared to last year. However, the situation is improving and 1,200 jobs returned to the region in September.
“Coming into the COVID-19 pandemic, employment in Northeast B.C. was stable and the region had a consistently low unemployment rate,” said Ben Sander, FCPA, FCA, partner at Sander Rose Bone Grindle. “Unfortunately, the crisis pushed summer employment down to levels not seen since 2011. Thankfully, the region has seen three consecutive months of job growth, but worryingly full-time positions account for all remaining job losses, indicating underlying issues that will need to be addressed for a full economic recovery.”In September, the number of part-time positions in Northeast B.C. actually grew by 2,000 compared to last year, while full-time positions declined by 3,100. The impact was also felt disproportionately among certain industries. In fact, losses were heavily concentrated in the region’s goods sector where over one in every four jobs were displaced compared to last year. Employment in the manufacturing sector was down over one-third, or 900 jobs lost.The region’s manufacturing industry was already experiencing some challenges prior to the pandemic, with several major closures over the past few years. With COVID-19, the situation has become much more precarious,” noted Sander. “The goods sector is the economic engine of Northeast B.C. and the job losses pose a real risk to our region’s growth prospects.”Despite ongoing work on major projects such as Site C, the pandemic took a large toll on the construction industry’s workforce. One in every two construction jobs across Northeast B.C. were gone in September compared to last year, a job loss of 2,800.“While construction on some major projects is underway, the economic benefits for local communities have been limited and the job losses likely reflect weakness in commercial and residential investment. These major infrastructure projects are key to our economic recovery, and going forward we need to ensure the benefits are realized across the region,” concluded Sander.On a positive note, the region’s service sector strongly rebounded from the lows seen earlier in the crisis. However, some service industries remain particularly affected by the pandemic, including the accommodation and food service industry which was down 29 per cent compared to last September, a job loss of 900, but has improved compared to August (+300 jobs).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.
For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Aaron Aerts, CPABC Economist

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