Manufacturers recover from 2021 employment decline

Average employment up 6.4% over past year in Metro Vancouver’s manufacturing sector

Two years after COVID-19 was first reported in Canada, Metro Vancouver’s manufacturing industry has all but recovered from its pandemic employment losses.

Over the past year, average employment grew 6.4 per cent to 288.4, just short of the 2020 high.

The pandemic interrupted what had been steady growth within Metro Vancouver’s manufacturing sector.  Over the two-year period prior to the pandemic, average employment at B.C.’s largest manufacturers grew 7.9 per cent to 289.4 in 2020. In 2021, average B.C. employment slumped by 6.3 per cent.

Over the past five years, median employment has stayed relatively stable, dropping only slightly in 2021 and then fully recovering in 2022. This suggests that while larger companies higher on the list were experiencing greater employee turnover, smaller companies lower on the list were holding their employment levels relatively constant.

Several of Metro Vancouver’s largest manufactures have increased their employee base significantly over the last half-decade. No. 1 Seaspan ULC increased its staff by 32.1 per cent, adding 851 employees over the past five years.

Manufacturers chart 2 2022

But No. 3 Stemcell Technologies boasted the highest five-year employment growth among the top five manufacturers. It increased its workforce by 33.5 per cent to 1,199 employees in 2022 from 898 employees in 2018.

No. 50 Longboard Agricultural Products recorded the sharpest one-year increase in B.C. employment, growing 64.8 per cent to 145 employees in 2022 from 88 in 2021. •