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

Last Updated Feb 6, 2021 at 9:45 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s jobs minister says the latest employment numbers from Statistics Canada show the provincial economy remains resilient.

The unemployment rate in B.C. last month was eight per cent, up from 7.2 per cent in December.

The national jobless rate was 9.4 per cent in January, up from 8.8 per cent in December, and economists say that’s mainly due to the loss of hundreds of thousands of service sector jobs, most in Ontario and Quebec.

RELATED: Canada’s unemployment rate rose in January to highest level since August

Ravi Kahlon, the minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation, says B.C. created 2,800 jobs in January and analysts peg the higher unemployment rate to more people looking for work.

B.C. Liberal jobs critic Todd Stone says the latest data shows B.C.’s job growth stalled in January and the New Democrats are hindering economic recovery and failing small business.

But Kahlon says B.C. has seen nine consecutive months of job growth, bringing employment numbers to more than 98 per cent of pre-pandemic levels.