KAMLOOPS – As employment in B.C. declines for a second month, and with the private sector still down 61,000 jobs compared to pre-pandemic levels despite a population growth of 53,000 people, the B.C. Liberals are reiterating their call for John Horgan and the NDP to stop bumbling and put forward a strategic long-term rebuild plan.

Numbers released by Statistics Canada today show that B.C. lost another 1,900 jobs in May, on top of the 43,100 jobs lost in April. Despite the virtually unchanged unemployment rate of seven per cent, this was largely due to more people giving up their search for work, as indicated by the 10.5 per cent hidden unemployment rate. There are still 25,100 fewer British Columbians working today than in February 2020.

“The NDP needs to come up with a private sector jobs plan for long-term recovery, but instead they’ve botched programs and left sectors across the province flapping in the wind,” said Todd Stone, BC Liberal Critic for Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “You can’t just cross your fingers and hope for the best. John Horgan’s lack of targeted support is leaving women and youth in particular to fend for themselves.”

In May, women lost 17,300 jobs and youth aged 15 to 24 lost 6,800 jobs. Young women continue to be hit the hardest with a staggering unemployment rate of 17.6 per cent. The overall youth unemployment stands at 15.1 percent.

“The NDP’s record in helping businesses and people has been abysmal, with B.C. ranked eighth in Canada for direct relief and grant programs for businesses. On a per capita basis, Ontario is spending $261 per person while B.C. is spending $110 per person,” added Stone.

Stone also highlighted that tourism-related businesses continue to suffer, with 53,000 jobs lost since February 2020, and he called on the NDP to immediately implement the remaining Tourism Task Force recommendations.

“John Horgan must act now to foster an inclusive recovery that leaves no one behind. Thousands of businesses have incurred debt and can’t march forward unless this government puts an economic rebuild plan on the table to restore confidence,” concluded Stone.