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Business in Vancouver

BC loses jobs in August but unemployment rate remains lowest in Canada

Province also retains the highest rate of yearly growth

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 September, 2016, 1:08am
UPDATED : Monday, 12 September, 2016, 11:41am

While employment in Canada increased by 26,000 jobs in August, British Columbia saw a decrease of 6,600 jobs in the month, according to Statistics Canada data released September 9.

Although the number of jobs decreased, there were fewer people looking for work and the unemployment rate fell a tick to 5.5 per cent from 5.6 per cent in July. This is the lowest rate of unemployment in the country. Across Canada, the average rate increased to 7.0 per cent from 6.9 per cent the previous month.

BC also remains the province with the highest rate of yearly growth in the country. In the 12 months to August, BC gained almost 73,000 jobs – an increase of 3.1 per cent. This is almost the entire gain of just over 77,000 jobs seen across the country year-over-year.

BMO Capital Markets senior economist Robert Kavcic said BC’s strength is originating in the Lower Mainland.

“It’s still safe to say that Vancouver is the strongest labour market in the country, with employment surging 6.3 per cent year-over-year and the jobless rate hitting a 7.5 year low of 5.2 per cent,” Kavcic said in a note to investors. “That rate is now the lowest among metro areas outside Quebec City, Guelph and Victoria.”

Across the country, the biggest gains were the services-producing sector, most notably public administration (up by more than 16,000 jobs), trade (+11,300) and information, culture and recreation (+9,600). The number of professional, scientific and technical services jobs fell by 23,000 and business, building and other support services decreased by almost 9,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate among men remains higher than that for women, and the gap is increasing. In August, 6.6 per cent of men were unemployed—up from 6.3 per cent the previous month—compared with 5.3 per cent of women—down from 5.4 per cent.

Sherry Cooper, chief economist of Dominion Lending Centres, said there are many reasons for this increasing discrepancy.

“For one, the weaker sectors of the economy—goods production, especially oil, and construction—are dominated by male employment.”

Overall, the jobs report was a good one, said TD Economics’ Brian DePratto.

“After a weak July jobs report, it was encouraging to see a modest rebound in hiring, particularly given the details,” DePratto said.

“Job growth came from full-time employment, and the unemployment rate rose for the ‘right’ reason as more Canadians were engaged with job market in August, reversing a four-month trend.”