Carole James, Minister of Finance, has issued the following statement on the release of Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey for May 2020:

“The May labour force numbers show some encouraging signs amid a continuing volatile labour market across every sector and in all regions of British Columbia due to COVID-19.

“I’m pleased B.C. created 43,300 jobs in the month of May as people shift back into the labour market, but we have a long road ahead of us in our recovery. Total job losses since the pandemic began stand at 353,200 and B.C.’s unemployment rate sits at 13.4%.

“Behind the numbers, there are many thousands of families, young people and businesses struggling to make ends meet. That’s why we acted quickly to ensure supports are in place through our COVID-19 Action Plan and why we’re now focused on restarting our economy in a safe way.

“To date, more than 510,000 people in B.C. have received the $1,000 BC Emergency Benefit for Workers. Additionally, we’ve worked with the federal government to expand the 75% wage subsidy and protected the hardest-hit businesses from evictions.

“As more and more workplaces begin to reopen, there’s reason for increased confidence amongst consumers, which is critical to our recovery. Despite COVID-19 impacts, B.C. is an economic leader in Canada. This, together with people’s exceptional co-operation in managing the health-care crisis, puts us on a solid foundation for economic recovery.

“Today’s survey reflects job and employment information that was collected during the week of May 10 to May 16, before B.C.’s gradual reopening had fully begun. In the coming months we hope to see further positive results as our economic recovery begins to take shape.

“We will continue to assess the needs of people and businesses through the coming months and build on the relief and recovery programs as necessary.”