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Easing of pandemic measures, other factors keep Greater Victoria unemployment low

Jobless rate of 4.1 per cent keeps metropolitan area among the most employed in Canada
According to Statistics Canada, Greater Victoria’s unemployment rate was 4.1 per cent in mid-March, down 0.1 per cent from February. (Black Press Media file photo)

Unemployment in Greater Victoria fell slightly to 4.1 per cent last month, continuing a trend that has seen the region post among the lowest rates in the country.

A Statistics Canada labour market report for the week of March 13 to 19 put the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) behind Abbotsford-Mission’s rate of 3.9 per cent, lowest among CMAs in B.C. Other major B.C. centres included Vancouver at 5.4 per cent and Kelowna at 6.7 per cent.

The Victoria figure was 0.1 per cent lower than the previously recorded mark.

Nationally, Canada’s unemployment rate fell 0.2 per cent to 5.3 per cent in March, the lowest on record since comparable data became available in 1976. The previous record low was observed in May 2019 when the rate hit 5.4 per cent.

RELATED: Unemployment rose in Greater Victoria last month, but remains one of the lowest in Canada

RELATED: Economy adds 337,000 jobs in February, unemployment rate falls to pre-pandemic level

StatsCan points to the easing of public-health measures, leading to employment gains in both service and goods-producing sectors, but also more structural factors. Long-term demographic trends are placing downward pressure on the supply of labour. Accordingly, employers wishing to find workers in a competitive labour market must tap into all available sources, including those Canadians who report they want to work but are not looking, the report notes.

The Canadian economy has shown an ability to absorb additional jobs despite issues such as supply chain disruptions. In the six months since September 2021, when employment first returned to pre-pandemic levels, 463,000 more people have found work (up 2.4 per cent), with retail trade (up 22,000 jobs), construction (up 110,000), health care and social assistance (up 62,000), and information, culture and recreation (up 62,000) sectors the leading contributors to the increase.

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Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
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