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Job numbers show cautious optimism with long road ahead: Carole James

BY , Jul 10, 2020 4:43 PM - REPORT AN ERRORLAST UPDATED ON Jul 10, 2020 5:56 PM

A file image of B.C. Finance Minister Carole James/ Govt. of B.C.

Statistics Canada's labour force survey for June shows 118,000 people in B.C. found jobs and the unemployment rate fell slightly to 13 per cent.

Finance Minister Carol James says the latest numbers paint a picture of cautious optimism with a long road ahead on B.C.'s path to recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She says job gains in May and June bring back about 40 per cent of the total number of jobs lost since February.

The greatest losses have been in the service sector, but James says that's also where jobs are being added as accommodation and food services accounted for half of last month's gains.

Despite positive signs, James says thousands of people and businesses are still struggling, and net job losses since the start of the pandemic stand at 235,000.

James says youth unemployment in particular stands out at 29.1 per cent, up slightly since May, while 45,000 young people did find jobs last month.

Statistics Canada says the economy added nearly one million jobs in June as businesses forced closed by the pandemic began to reopen.

The agency says 953,000 jobs were added last month, including 488,000 full-time and 465,000 part-time positions.

The unemployment rate fell to 12.3 per cent in June after hitting a record-high of 13.7 per cent in May.

As in May, even though more people found jobs, more people were also looking for work.

The average economist estimate for June had been for an addition of 700,000 jobs and the unemployment rate to fall to 12.0 per cent, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate would have been 16.3 per cent had it included in unemployment counts those who wanted to work, but did not look for a job.

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