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Job Growth in BC over the Past Decade: Mining Takes Top Spot

By Ken Peacock      

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A review of job growth by detailed industry categories reveals that Mining has seen the strongest percentage job gains of any industry in the province. Over the past decade, the number of people working directly in Mining soared by almost 230%. The second fastest pace of job growth (187%) occurred in the industry that provides Support Activities for Mining and Oil and Gas, things such as drilling and exploration services.

In third and fourth spot are Security Services and Warehousing and Storage Services, each doubling their employment counts. Despite a very soft pricing environment in recent years, the Natural Gas industry registered the 5th fastest job growth over the 10-year period. The number of people working in Construction (residential and all non-residential together) climbed by almost two-thirds. Because it is a large sector, Construction recorded the largest absolute increase in employment head count of any BC industry (76,000 additional jobs). Architectural, Engineering and Design Services was also one of the fastest growing industries, which in part reflects the expansion in Mining as well as the growth in Construction.

At the other end of the scale, it was a tough decade for the overall forest sector. Forestry (including logging), Wood Product Manufacturing and Paper Manufacturing each saw some of the largest percentage decreases in employment. A few other Manufacturing industries were also near the bottom of the growth rankings as was Broadcasting and Telecommunications.
Underscoring the volatility of commodity industries, job growth rates in BC’s largest resource industries were at polar opposites over the past decade. The good news is the US housing market is now recovering so the province may benefit from expansion in forestry and further gains in mining.