Vancouver Island is seeing “significant job growth,” but employers continue to be dogged by a growing lack of available workers.
The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC, in its annual report on employment, BC Check-Up: Work, says labour shortages, salaries, and housing prices are the top three challenges to business success in BC.
The CPA says the Vancouver Island unemployment rate fell to 3.8 per cent in September, down from 6 per cent in September of 2021.
The numbers do not include Greater Victoria.
Woody Hayes of the association says employers significantly increased their workforces over the past year as economic recovery continued.
“As a result, the region’s unemployment rate was lower than in 2019 and employment growth outpaced population growth over that period.”
Total employment across Vancouver Island – not including Greater Victoria – reached more than 225-thousand.
That’s a 5.9 per cent increase over September of 2021.
The CPA found that since 2019, employment growth has outpaced population growth in the region.
Vancouver Island has one of the tightest job markets in the province with low unemployment and high job vacancies.
The workforce in the service sector grew by more than 11-thousand from September of last year to reach 178-thousand positions in September 2022.
That increase was led by health care with a 36.4 per cent increase, professional services at 47.4 per cent more, and information, culture, and recreation industries growing by 71.4 per cent.
However, the CPA says the hospitality workforce declined by 44.7 per cent.
Employment in the goods sector increased by 4.7 per cent over the past year as construction positions grew by 29.2 per cent.
However, the goods sector remained 2.3 per cent smaller than in September of 2019 because manufacturing positions have declined by 30.8 per cent over the past three years.
Going forward, Hayes says Vancouver Island needs to attract more workers and provide additional skills training for industries facing the greatest shortages of workers, as well as improving housing affordability.