Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Housing construction continues in the Whistle Bend subdivision in Whitehorse on Oct. 29, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)

Yukon Bureau of Statistics reports rising rents for Yukoners, falling revenues for businesses

The bureau has published several reports on the rental market and businesses affected by COVID-19

Whitehorse’s median rent last October was $1,050, according to the Yukon Bureau of Statistics.

The median rent rose $50 compared to the same month in 2019. The vacancy rate also dropped from 3.7 to three per cent.

The Yukon Bureau of Statistics published its rent survey on Feb. 22.

The median rent of $1,050 refers to units in buildings with three or more rental units. The median rent for units in all types of buildings was even higher, at $1,155.

Whitehorse’s median rent has grown steadily in the past decade, the bureau is reporting.

In 2010, the median rent was $750. The highest median rent reported in October 2020 was $1,700 per month for condominiums. Single-detached houses had the second-highest median rent, at $1,675 per month. Apartment units had the lowest median rent at $1,000 per month.

The bureau also found a low number of vacant units for rent in Whitehorse.

The bureau surveyed 5,099 rental units, and found only 170 were vacant.

More than half of Yukon businesses report lower revenues due to COVID-19

The Yukon Bureau of Statistics posted a report on the pandemic’s impact on business on March 1. The bureau of statistics contacted businesses, crown corporations and First Nation development corporations in the fall of 2020.

The bureau found that 52 per cent of businesses reported lower revenues in the first half of 2020, compared to the same period in 2019.

In the fall of 2020, 81 per cent of businesses were fully operational. Six hundred Yukon businesses — 12 per cent — reported they were either partially operational or not operating due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Accommodations and food services businesses had the highest number of partially operational businesses, with almost half of 250 businesses reporting partial operations. Eight per cent of these businesses were not operational at all.

The majority of businesses that reduced operations due to COVID-19 did so in March 2020, the bureau says.

More than 700 businesses reduced staff hours or shifts, while 636 laid off staff entirely. On average, businesses that resorted to lay-offs diminished their workforce by 46 per cent. The accommodation and food services sector laid off 63 per cent of their workforce, construction companies laid off 48 per cent, and retail laid off 45 per cent.

The bureau asked businesses if they made changes to adapt to COVID-19. More than half of businesses said they added new ways to sell to customers, with one-third of businesses increasing their virtual operations.

Twenty per cent, or 629, of Yukon businesses, accessed the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. The second-most accessed support program was the Canada Emergency Business Account program, with 19 per cent of businesses taking advantage of it.

The most common Yukon-specific program was the Yukon Business Relief Program, with 500 businesses taking advantage.

About 1,700 businesses did not access any support programs.

Labour survey shows drop in job vacancies

The Yukon Bureau of Statistics also published a survey on labour demand and employment, which is conducted every two years. Employers were surveyed about their employment situation and the impact of COVID-19 on operations.

Compared to the last labour demand survey in 2018, current vacancies dropped to 622 from 1,167. In the fall of 2020, there were 3,116 businesses in the Yukon, employing 14,260 people. About 77 per cent of those employees worked full-time. Nearly 91 per cent of Yukon employees worked in Whitehorse.

At the time of the survey, there were 56 jobs that businesses had tried to fill for more than 90 days. These jobs were mostly the industrial, electrical and construction trades.

Contact Gabrielle Plonka at gabrielle.plonka@yukon-news.com

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