Greater Victoria’s unemployment rate has increased slightly, but it isn’t because of job loss, a new report suggests.
According to the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia’s annual report on employment trends, Greater Victoria’s unemployment rate was 4.7 per cent in September 2022, a small increase from the 4.2 per cent rate that was recorded during the same period last year.
However, total employment throughout the region climbed to 213,500 in September, a 4.1 per cent increase compared to September 2021.
Lindalee Brougham, FCPA, FCA, FCGA, President of LL Brougham Inc., said in a press release that the increase in the unemployment rate wasn’t due to people losing their jobs, but rather because more people entered the labour force and were searching for work.
“Greater Victoria’s workforce increased by 8,400 over the past year. Despite the strong showing over the past year, employment growth has lagged population growth since 2019,” added Brougham.
CPABC’s report found that Greater Victoria’s workforce in September 2022 was 1.4 per cent larger than it was in September 2019, but population growth during the same period was 5.2 per cent.
When it comes to labour participation, the region’s rate was 63 per cent in September, an increase of 1.4 per cent from the same period last year but below the 64.3 per cent rate recorded in September 2019.
“Given the significant labour shortages Greater Victoria has seen, it is encouraging to see more residents enter the labour force,” said Brougham. “However, a smaller proportion of residents were in the labour force compared to pre-pandemic levels.”
While the region’s goods sector has fared well, gaining 6,400 positions mostly in construction between September 2021 and September 2022, CPABC’s report notes that some industries in the service sector have struggled to recover.
In September 2022, the service sector’s workforce only increased by 0.7 per cent compared to the same period last year and that there were 1,400 job losses in hospitality and 6,100 job loses in the business/building services sector during that same 12-month period.
“Over the past year, Greater Victoria’s workforce expanded, driven by growth in the construction workforce,” said Brougham. “While our employment situation has improved markedly, challenges remain, including significant labour shortages.”
Brougham also said going forward, the focus must be on reducing barriers to joining the labour force, improving housing affordability, and attracting more residents to the region.