The unemployment rate in the Yukon is creeping higher as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to squeeze the economy, especially as winter continues.
“There were 1,600 unemployed in Yukon in February 2021,” states a report from the Yukon Bureau of Statistics.
“This figure increase by 600, or 60 per cent, compared to February 2020, and increased by 300, or 23.1 per cent, compared to January 2021.”
Another report from the bureau shows there were 785 job vacancies in Yukon in the fourth quarter of 2020, 71.5 per cent of which were for full-time work; and 68.2 per cent for permanent positions.
Most of the vacancies were in sales and service occupations (505) followed by trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations (85); and occupations in education, law and social, community and government services (55).
The number of job vacancies in Yukon translates into a job vacancy rate of 4.4 per cent, the highest in Canada followed by British Columbia (4.2 per cent).
Nationally, there were 560,215 job vacancies in the fourth quarter of 2020, 68.3 per cent of which were for full-time work; 75.8 per cent for permanent positions. The national job vacancy rate was 3.5 per cent.
In February 2020 (i.e. prior to business closures due to COVID-19), the Yukon’s labour force was 23,800, the number of employed was 22,900, the number of unemployed was 1,000,” the report stated.
“In February 2021, many Yukoners, who did not look for work, presumably due to business closures, were not counted as unemployed resulting in a decrease in labour force compared to January and February of 2020.”
“When unemployment is adjusted to reflect this decrease in labour force, Yukon’s February unemployment rate would be 8.5 per cent; for Canada, it would be 10.7 cent.”
The Labour Force Survey estimates that 72.8 per cent of Yukoners aged 15 years and over were employed or seeking employment in February 2021.
Bishnu Saha, the director of the bureau, suggested the unemployment rate is creeping up due to more people trickling back into the work force.
The number of people who haven’t actively been searching for a job peaked at nearly 10,000 people, he said, but is now closer to 8,800 people.