Unemployment in Greater Victoria dropped in August to 10.3 per cent in August, down from 11.3 per cent. (Twitter/Greater Victoria Harbour Authority)

Unemployment in Greater Victoria remains near historic highs

Economist warns of sluggish job growth in the future

Unemployment in Greater Victoria dropped in August, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada.

The Victoria Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) recorded an unemployment rate of 10.3 per cent in August, down from 11.3 per cent in July. While an improvement, the latest figures nonetheless mean that regional unemployment remains near a historic high, certainly since the post-war period, with COVID-19 bearing the blame.

Before the pandemic, the regional unemployment rate stood at 3.4 per cent in February, with Greater Victoria consistently ranking among the regions with the lowest unemployment rates in Canada.

RELATED: New B.C. jobs won’t be enough when CERB ends: economist

RELATED: Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

More than half a year later, Victoria’s unemployment rate finds itself just below the provincial rate of 10.7 per cent and just ahead of the national rate of 10.2 per cent.

It also has the second-worst rate of the four CMAs in British Columbia. Vancouver CMA recorded an unemployment rate of 12.8 per cent, down from 13.3. Kelowna CMA recorded an unemployment rate of nine per cent, down from 10 per cent, while Abbotsford-Mission CMA recorded an unemployment rate of 8.2 per cent, down from 8.3 per cent.

These new figures appear against the backdrop of several developments.

The federal government announced last month announced an unemployment rate of 13.1 per cent as the future albeit temporary threshold for calculating Employment Insurance benefits. Recipients in regions with rates above that figure will see their benefits calculated according to their respective rates.

RELATED: Greater Victoria records highest unemployment in post-war history with 11 per cent

Perhaps more significantly, the federal government announced that it would transition the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) into a new program, extending it for four weeks on Aug. 20 following its initial introduction in the spring.

With the new program likely less generous than CERB, the demand and competition for jobs will likely intensify.

Speaking with Black Press last week, Ken Peacock, chief economist for the Business Council of B.C., doubted whether the provincial economy would be able to grow fast enough. While it added 15,300 jobs in August, Peacock suggested that increase should have been higher.

“If this were normal times, a 15,000 upward movement would be quite good, even kind of strong,” he said. But in the “current context” it marked a “dramatic pull-back” from the previous couple of months, he added. “It speaks to exactly what we’ve been concerned about, that the low-hanging fruit in terms of rehiring has been accomplished, and we’re going to see sluggish job growth from here on out.”

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A bear similar to this black bear is believed responsible for killing a llama in Saanich on Oct. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich residents warned to watch livestock after bear kills llama

Officers with Conservation, Saanich police could not track the bear they feel may not fear humans

Local New Democrat Zeb King welcomed Premier John Horgan during a brief photo opportunity in Sidney Monday afternoon (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
NDP leader John Horgan predicts party will ‘flip’ Saanich North and the Islands

Incumbent MLA Adam Olsen calls Horgan’s claim ‘bold’

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

London Drugs at Colwood Corners is temporarily closed after a water main burst on Sunday afternoon. (Google Maps)
Water main burst temporarily closes London Drugs in Colwood

Staff say re-opening date yet to be determined after Sunday incident

West Shore RCMP say a single car crash into a power pole caused a power outage that affected over 1,500 residents in Colwood on Monday morning. (West Shore RCMP)
Vancouver driver cause of power outage in Colwood

Police detain 27-year-old man for impaired driving investigation

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

(File photo)
RCMP: Two men face charges in reported Parksville fatal hit-and-run

Investigation into man’s death began in August of 2019

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson visits a North Vancouver daycare to announce his party’s election promises for child care, Oct. 9, 2020. (B.C. Liberal Party video)
B.C. parties pitch costly child care programs in pandemic

B.C. Liberals say they’ll deliver on NDP’s $10-a-day promise for lower-income families

Steven Michael Bacon pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree murder of Nanaimo teen Makayla Chang. (Photos submitted)
Accused pleads not guilty in Nanaimo teen’s 2017 murder

Steven Bacon appeared in Nanaimo court Monday via video link from Thunder Bay

Voting station at Tzeachten Hall in the riding of Chilliwack-Kent on the first day of advance voting in the provincial election on Oct. 15, 2020. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. VOTES 2020: 380,000 British Columbians head to polls in first 4 days of advance voting

Some of highest voter turnout so far has been seen on Vancouver Island and in Shuswap

Grant and Barbara Howse, in quarantine in Invermere. Mike Turner photo
Denied entry into U.S., Kootenay couple still forced to quarantine for 2 weeks

The rules around crossing the U.S. border led to a bizarre situation for an Invermere couple

Most Read