Unemployment has fallen faster in Metro Vancouver than in Canada's other urban areas

Nov 16 2021, 11:35 pm

At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic fallout in 2020, the unemployment rate in Metro Vancouver reached nearly 14%.

Fast-forward to September 2021, just over a year after the dire unemployment peak — unemployment in Metro Vancouver decreased to 6.7%, according to Statistics Canada. While this is still above the unemployment rate of 4.5% in the months just before the pandemic’s sudden onset, it is below the average unemployment rate (7.9%) of the other five largest urban regions of Canada.

These are the findings compiled by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s (REBGV) first-ever labour market report, given that the health and quality of local jobs is directly linked to housing market activity.

Unemployment has fallen faster in Metro Vancouver than it has in Canada’s other large urban areas, and there are growing opportunities for local workers.

The core employment rate in Metro Vancouver is now 83.1%, above the average rate of 81.6% for the other five largest urban areas.

Jobs in lower-paying industries — such as retail, restaurants, and hospitality — had rebounded to 97% of pre-pandemic levels by September 2021. Interestingly, high-earning jobs have exceeded pre-pandemic levels, growing to 111%, which strongly supports in come growth, higher in-migration, and rising housing demand in the region.

Statistics Canada data also shows exceptionally strong interprovincial flows into British Columbia, with more Canadians moving to the westernmost province than anywhere else in the country over the 12-month period ending June 30, 2021.

“Strong job growth is supporting rising wages and income across Metro Vancouver today. With above-average labour market conditions, compared to Canada’s other large centres, the region continues to attract in-migration from across Canada. As governments further loosen mobility restrictions, we’ll also begin to see higher international in-migration,” said Keith Stewart, an economist with REBGV, in a statement.

“This combination of an improving labour market coupled with net positive migration will help bolster demand in the local housing market in 2022. Jobs in higher-wage industries have proven more resilient to the COVID-19 downturn than expected. This trend helped underpin the elevated home sale volumes we’ve experienced in the region over the last 12 months.”

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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