According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate in Greater Victoria stood at 6.3 per cent in May 2021, nearly unchanged from April’s rate of 6.2 per cent. (Black Press Media File)

According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate in Greater Victoria stood at 6.3 per cent in May 2021, nearly unchanged from April’s rate of 6.2 per cent. (Black Press Media File)

Unemployment rate in Greater Victoria stagnates at 6.3 per cent in May

Latest figures reflect conditions before lifting of public health measures

New figures show little change in the official unemployment rate for Victoria Census Metropolitan Area as the labour market appears uncertain.

Figures from Statistics Canada peg the unemployment rate for Greater Victoria at 6.3 per cent, according to data from the Labour Force Survey for May 9 to 15. That figure marks up an uptick of 0.1 per cent from the corresponding data for April and captures conditions before the May 25 easing of public health measures.

Victoria’s stagnating unemployment rate for the survey period reflects broader trends.

Canada’s rate barely budged, rising 0.1 per cent to 8.2 per cent, as the number of people searching for a job or on temporarily laid off held steady. The provincial rate dropped by 0.1 to seven per cent. This said, the figures remain below last summer’s record-setting rates.

RELATED: Unemployment in Greater Victoria continues to rise

Looking ahead, the accompanying analysis attempts to assess the direction of the labour market as public health measures have been lifting. Figures from last summer following the first wave of COVID-19 suggest a strong labour market ahead, but other categories may also cause concern as the numbers of discouraged job searchers remains high.

If the people who wanted work but did not look for work were included among the unemployed, the adjusted unemployment rate in May for Canada would have been 10.7 per cent. While the number of discouraged workers generally recedes as the labour market recovers, rates for April were still higher than they were during the same period in 2019.

The latest figures also show the unevenness of the job market for certain groups. Students, individuals classified as visible minorities and Indigenous, as well as women, especially women older than 55 but also those in the core-aged group (aged 25 to 54), record higher unemployment or lower participation rates than other groups.

Specific sectors such as retail trade, accommodation and food services are also still struggling. For example, employment in accommodation and food services remains almost one-third below pre-COVID levels, with the proviso that these figures record conditions before the lifting of public health measures.


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wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Greater Victoria