B.C. adds 8,700 jobs in January amid ‘solid’ labour market

Cornelia Mascio
Febbraio 11, 2019

The unemployment rate dropped to 8.2 per cent in January from 8.4 per cent in December.

There were an estimated 39,900 people employed in the region in a labour force of 42,100, according to the latest Statistics Canada labour force survey released Friday, February 8.

When comparing the Lethbridge-Medicine Hat region, the unemployment rate is at 5.4 per cent, up from 4.5 per cent last month, according to the province's labour force statistics.

The unemployment rate in the Montreal region was down slightly in January from the month before, falling below the level in Toronto once again.

Energy-rich Alberta, hit hard by the oil-price decline, shed jobs for a second-straight month and saw its jobless rate rise to 6.8 per cent, up from 6.4 per cent. Unemployment in that province increased by 0.4 percentage points. The number of self-employed positions, which can include unpaid work, declined by 60,700.

Victoria saw no change in its jobless rate last month, holding at 3.6 per cent that was reported in December. Canada's largest province added 41,000 jobs and saw 31,000 more people join the labour force.

On a year-over-year basis, total employment was up 327,000 or 1.8 per cent, reflecting increases in both full-time (+166,000) and part-time (+162,000) work.

In a note to clients Friday, CIBC Chief Economist Royce Mendes wrote the latest job readings were "a vehicle stuck on one of Canada's clogged highways: speeding up then slowing down just to speed back up again". Most of the jobs went to youth aged 15 to 24 in services-producing industries. For last month, the rate was at 7.8%, an increase of 0.8% from December.

"Overall, it's been a good day for readings on the Canadian economy", says Royce Mendes, senior economist at CIBC, in a research note. "So while today's data will be bullish for the Canadian dollar and bearish for fixed income, the Bank of Canada is still likely on the sidelines for the first half of 2019".

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