B.C’s unemployment rate stayed pretty much the same in January at 6.6%, heading down a fraction from December when it was at 6.7%. Now you might think, this isn’t very newsworthy? However when you look at the context of the world’s economy, and even the Canadian economy, 6.6% is most definitely a positive number.
First off 6.6% is much lower than the Canadian average which sits at 7.2%, with Alberta even higher at 7.4%. The other good thing is a lot of this growth is centred in the Lower Mainland. Overall employment in B.C. was up 2.1% compared to 12 months ago, and a lot of those jobs have been created in places like Vancouver, Surrey, Richmond and Burnaby.
There’s also been a recent commercial real estate boom in downtown Vancouver. For years people had been talking about the lack of commercial expansion in the downtown core, but now if you take a look around, all those Lease signs now have brand new shops in them, many of them locally owned, or high-end retail shops.
It’s safe to say B.C., and Greater Vancouver in particular, are in the eye of a passing global economic storm right now. While many sectors suffer the weight of low oil and a struggling loonie, we’ve diversified and boosted tourism. It’s great to see that in this new age of energy wars and unstably economic regions, that we have found the right formula to weather any type of temperamental change in the forecast with flying colours.