(file photo)

The latest numbers from Statistics Canada show British Columbia coming the closest among provinces to pre-COVID employment levels.

Labour Force Survey results show employment in the province grew by 1 per cent (24,000 jobs) in November. According to the survey, gains in full-time work were partly offset by losses in part-time employment.

It was slightly slower job growth than October when employment grew by 1.4 per cent.

Growth across the country has slowed as well, with a nationwide gain of just 0.3 per cent compared to an average of 2.7 per cent from May to September.

Chart 1: Pace of employment recovery slows
(Statistics Canada)

The modest gain positioned B.C. as the province closest to its pre-COVID employment level, just 1.5 per cent behind what it was in February.

The provinces furthest away from their pre-COVID employment levels are Manitoba (-4.8 per cent) and Alberta (-4.9 per cent).

Even with new COVID-19 restrictions imposed on British Columbia in November, several industries saw increases in employment, including accommodation and food services, transportation and warehousing, wholesale and retail trade, and construction.

Overall, the unemployment rate in B.C. fell by 0.9 percentage points to 7.1 per cent.

Growth has varied among different demographics, however. The unemployment rate for visible minorities remains three points higher than the national rate, at 10.2 per cent.

Employment among men aged 25 to 54 saw an increase of 0.4 per cent nationwide, while women in the same age group saw no change in their employment rate.

The long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on employment are still being felt in the form of reduced savings, prolonged joblessness and potential difficulties in returning to work.

Statistics Canada says 53.3 per cent of people who have experienced long-term unemployment reported difficulty meeting necessary expenses in November, compared to 41.4 per cent who said they were jobless for a shorter period of time.

The first COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada have begun distribution across the provinces this week.

As the country heads into the holiday season, however, rising cases have been accompanied by new lockdown restrictions, which may keep job growth low as the economy recovers.

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