More than one-third (35 per cent) of Metro Vancouver businesses say they’re worse off now than they were in 2019, just before the pandemic brought on a wave of economic wallops that hit everything from supply chains to labour.
The quarterly survey results, released Wednesday by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT), also reveal 37 per cent of local businesses plan to raise prices in the coming months in response to their challenges. That figure jumps substantially for retailers (71 per cent) and food service providers (67 per cent).
Statistics Canada data released earlier this week shows that for every vacant job in B.C., there are only 0.9 unemployed workers in the province available to fill that role.
This is putting added pressure on businesses when it comes to meeting demand for their services.
The GVBOT survey results show 37 per cent of businesses expect to face difficulty recruiting workers in the next three months. And 30 per cent of respondents also believe they will have difficulty retaining their skilled employees.
Of those that reported labour challenges, nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) say it’s more challenging now to hire and hold onto staff than it was one year ago.
Bridgitte Anderson, the GVBOT’s president and CEO, said inflation, supply chain disruptions and labour shortages are creating an “increasingly challenging business environment.”
“Governments must be mindful of business conditions to ensure that they are not adding costs or burdens onto an increasingly tapped business environment,” she said in a statement.
B.C.’s inflation rate of 8.1 per cent has now overtaken the national average of 7.7 per cent – a 39-year high – after trailing the rest of Canada for months.
Fifty-two per cent of survey respondents said the rising costs of inputs will be a challenge in the next three months.
Meanwhile, 44 per cent of respondents believe supply chain issues will worsen in that time period.
Nearly one-third of Metro Vancouver businesses (30 per cent) expect to partner with new suppliers to combat their supply-chain woes. Another 31 per cent say they won’t be taking any steps to address those snarls.
The second-quarter survey was conducted between April 1 and May 6, and included responses from 686 businesses based in Metro Vancouver. The GVBOT conducted the survey in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.