Physical distancing in place at a South Surrey business. (Tracy Holmes photo)

More than 37,000 jobs lost in Surrey between February and July: board of trade

COVID-related impacts highlighted in new labour market intelligence report

A “first-of-its-kind” report from the Surrey Board of Trade shows thousands of jobs have been lost in Surrey during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Released Friday (Sept. 4), the Surrey Labour Market Intelligence Report includes COVID-related impacts.

READ ALSO: New B.C. jobs won’t be enough when CERB ends: economist, Sept. 4, 2020

“This report is the only one that provides the best available quantitative, qualitative and anecdotal information on implications for Surrey employers, workers and service providers,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

“This is important monthly information for businesses and our workforce to have to inform decision-making and planning on recovery and resilience. The Surrey Board of Trade is the only city-building business organization that offers this value to Surrey’s business community.”

According to the report, there has been a loss of more than 37,000 jobs between February and July, with youth, immigrants, people of colour and women “more adversely affected.”

While there were some “limited gains” – a total of 3,53 jobs – in several sectors, such as agriculture and natural resources, utilities and professional, scientific and technical services, “all other major industries have diminished in size to a varying degree.”

The hardest-hit industries, according to the report, include arts, culture and recreation; personal services, accommodation and food services; transportation; and warehousing and retail.

It adds that 29 per cent of small businesses were “making or exceeding their normal revenues levels” for this period in August 2020.

“As businesses and industry in Surrey shifts as a result of COVID-19, reskilling and upskilling for new products/services and positions will be required,” the report reads.

“The greatest obstacles related to re-opening businesses were voiced as the complexity of health & safety requirements, the difficulty of implementing re-opening requirements and the costs associated of implementation.”

Huberman added that the board’s “high-level perspective” is that B.C. is “well-positioned fiscally and economically to move through the pandemic.”

READ ALSO: Canada’s economic optimism crippled by pandemic, Pew poll suggests, Sept. 3, 2020

“Certainly, we have seen significant business closures and unemployment due to the pandemic, and this will continue in a very uncertain economic future. We still have a long way to go as we build a strong economic recovery.”

To read the full report, visit businessinsurrey.com.

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