17,000 Jobs Recovered in Surrey Says November Surrey Labour Market Intelligence Report

–        Surrey Board of Trade Pandemic Rapid Response Business Centre has released 3rd Surrey Labour Market Intelligence Report on COVID-19-related impacts.

“This is the only Surrey-focused labour market report to inform decision-making and planning on recovery and resilience,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

“Surrey has recovered over an estimated 17,000 jobs from July to October, but caution reigns as we move into further restrictions and lockdowns.”


·       Overall, in Surrey peak job loss was seen by July at over 37,000 jobs, with the greatest losses occurring in March and April of 2020. Since the end of July, Surrey has recovered over 17,000 jobs (nearly 48%), with 5,618 of those being attributed to the month of October. This is a total net deficit since February of almost 20,000 jobs or (6.6%)

·       The greatest gains since February 2020 continue to be in Utilities (58.7% increase) and Natural Resources (13.4% increase) industries, though both of these industries suffered a small loss of jobs in October (decreases of 2.1% and 5.2%, respectively)

·       The greatest gains in the number of jobs recovered in October 2020 were seen in Manufacturing; Business, Building & Other Support; Educational Services; and Accommodation & Food Services; making up over 77% of the jobs recovered in October (or roughly 4,355 of the net 5,618 total jobs recovered)

·       The greatest overall losses since March 2020 were seen in the following industries: Wholesale & Retail; Transportation & Warehousing; Educational Services; Information; Culture & Recreation; and ‘Other’ Services

·       While occupations in Education, Law & Social, Community & Government Services and Trades, and Transport & Equipment Operators have seen a decline every month since February 2020, in October 2020 both sectors saw a recovery of over 1,000 jobs in Surrey

·       Natural & Applied Sciences saw an early drop in jobs between February and April, however, these occupations have continued to see an increase in jobs since and are at 10% more than in February 2020.

·       The greatest net loss of jobs in Surrey to date comes from Sales & Services Occupations at 18.2% since February 2020, however, a majority of this loss came between March 2020 and July 2020 (almost 32% of jobs lost). Since July, over 43% of jobs lost in the first five months of COVID-19 have been recovered in this sector

·       Statistics Canada has found that visible minorities have been adversely affected by COVID-19:

  • Compared to Caucasian participants of the labour market, more visible minorities reported a strong or moderate negative financial impact of COVID-19, with Arabs, West Asians and Filipinos reporting the greatest impact
  • The October 2020 Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada shared that visible minorities who were not considered Indigenous have an unemployment rate in October of 11.7% compared to those of non-Indigenous, non-visible minorities, which have an unemployment rate of 6.7%
  • Visible minorities have been reporting poorer mental health than White participants
  • Mortality rates resulting from the pandemic are higher in Canadian neighbourhoods that have a higher proportion of visible minorities in their population

·       Statistics Canada reported that recent immigrants were more likely than Canadian-born workers to lose employment in the early months of the pandemic:

  • This is, at least in part, due to their shorter job tenure and likelihood of being in lower-wage jobs
  • Female immigrants faced the greatest job loss in March and April, at 7% higher than their Canadian-born counter parts

·       Statistics Canada highlighted the significant and disproportionate health and socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous people:

  • The initial decrease in employment trended similarly to those of non-Indigenous identity but the employment rate among Indigenous has not recovered at the same pace as that for non-Indigenous individuals
  • Indigenous men did see an increase in employment between June and August, while women saw their employment rate fall further
  • Indigenous women remain further from their pre-pandemic levels of employment than their male counterparts
  • Statistics Canada also reports that Indigenous people are over-represented in occupations that saw larger declines in employment during COVID-19, such as trades, transport, equipment operations and sales & service


Anita Huberman
CEO, Surrey Board of Trade