CPABC: Greater Victoria’s service sector expands in 2023 as the labour force grows

VICTORIA, British Columbia, Dec. 05, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to BC Check-Up: Work, an annual report by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) on labour market trends across the province, there were 233,100 Greater Victoria residents employed in November 2023, up 7.1 per cent from a year ago.

“We saw some of the strongest employment growth in the province over the past year” said Simon Philp, FCPA, FCMA, Market Vice President at CIBC. “That said, gains were concentrated in a small number of industries, rather than spread across the local economy.”

Employment in the services sector increased by 19,400 workers (+10.8 per cent) between November 2022 and 2023, accounting for all growth in the region. The largest gains were in public administration and health care, which added 11,800 and 5,400 workers respectively. The headcount in business services also increased by 2,800 people during the year. Meanwhile, goods sector employment fell by 3,300 (-11.3 per cent), due to slowdowns in construction and manufacturing.

“Employment growth since the onset of the pandemic has been entirely in the service industries” noted Philp. “Higher interest rates and worker shortages remain challenging for the construction industry, at a time when housing affordability is a key policy issue.”

The labour force participation rate – the proportion of the working age population who were either working or looking for work – was 66.2 per cent in November 2023, up 2.9 percentage points from a year ago, and 0.8 percentage points higher than the February 2020 rate. The unemployment rate has trended upward during 2023, reaching 4.1 per cent in November, similar to the pre-pandemic rate.

“A growing labour force and relatively low unemployment are both positives for the region” concluded Philp. “Affordability remains a concern however, especially as we welcome newcomers who are finding work and contributing to the local economy.”

CPABC also surveys its members to provide insight on challenges facing B.C. businesses. CPAs living on Vancouver Island identified housing affordability as the biggest obstacle to business success, with 96 per cent reporting that it is a challenge.

To learn more, see Employment by industry data is not adjusted for seasonality.


About CPA British Columbia

The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the training, governing, and regulatory body for over 39,000 CPA members and 6,000 CPA candidates and students. CPABC carries out its primary mission to protect the public by enforcing the highest professional and ethical standards and contributing to the advancement of public policy.


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