In response to the unprecedented economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the region, Economic Development Cowichan began publishing a regional recovery dashboard of indicators to track progress towards recovery. The first report was published in January 2021.
The May 2021 report shows an alarming increase in Cowichan housing prices, up 15% in March 2021 versus March 2020, as well as continued low inventory. “Although lack of inventory is a problem throughout British Columbia, it has reached a crisis point on Vancouver Island,” said Ian Mackay, President of Vancouver Island Real Estate Board in their March 2021 Monthly Statistics Package. Meanwhile, the construction industry is booming in response to high demand.
The report also shows that our tourism sector continues to suffer the effects of the pandemic, with air traffic and tourist information centre visitation still very low. Furthermore, while the number of employed people on Vancouver Island has returned to pre-pandemic levels, the number of Employment Insurance claims in Cowichan is high, signalling underlying employment issues.
“This latest dashboard helps to confirm where we need to focus our collective efforts,” said Barry O’Riordan, Manager of Economic Development Cowichan. “The data allows us to identify program opportunities that can be specifically tailored to the needs of the Cowichan Valley. For example, in addition to reaffirming the needs of the hospitality sector, this data identifies opportunities to support employment in growing industries like construction.”
This is the second in an ongoing series of recovery dashboards that Economic Development Cowichan will publish quarterly to help inform and guide the recovery efforts of local government, community organizations, businesses, and others. The next dashboard will be published in July 2021. Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when the next report is published.