A new reports finds that the number of active businesses in British Columbia had dropped by 5.1 per cent in October 2020 compared to 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

A new reports finds that the number of active businesses in British Columbia had dropped by 5.1 per cent in October 2020 compared to 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)

New report finds COVID-19 pandemic reverses tight labour market in B.C.

Some 14,000 businesses closed during height of pandemic

A new report finds that the COVID-19 pandemic, at its height, displaced one in every two hospitality jobs.

The finding appears in BC Check-Up: Invest, an annual report prepared by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC). “While (the service sector) has rebounded, some industries continue to struggle, especially those that require close human interaction or working in physical spaces.”

The report finds that the pandemic has “devastated industries” that require high customer density and close interaction, a prerequisite for much of the service sector, and predicts that it could take several years for the province to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After years of tight labour market conditions, the trend reversed in (British Columbia) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” it reads. “While there has been a recovery from April lows as businesses began to reopen and government support came into place, many formerly employed individuals have struggled to return to their position, and new entrants have found few opportunities.”

Looking at Greater Victoria, the report finds that Greater Victoria’s job losses concentrated in the service sector. Affected industries include accommodation and food; information, culture and recreation; and other services.

RELATED: Employment data shows B.C. resilient, says minister, but Liberals unimpressed

The report finds that the number of active businesses in British Columbia had dropped by 5.1 per cent in October 2020 compared to 2019.

“When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit B.C., the ensuing business restrictions reduced active businesses by over 14,000 between March and May 2020,” said Lori Mathison, president and chief executive officer of CPABC. “Thankfully, the situation improved over the summer and into the fall. However, the number of active businesses remained down by over 6,600 in October, and some industries are disproportionately affected.”


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