Victoria near lowest unemployment rate in Canada last month, Stats Canada

Andrew Cummings
March 10, 2019

"We always take this survey with a grain of salt, and it could still be in the final stretch of catching up to the larger gains we saw past year in the more reliable payroll survey", said Royce Mendes, senior economist at CIBC, in a research note.

The unemployment rate in Northeast B.C. rose half a percentage point to 6% in February, according to the latest labour force survey. The number of self-employed increased by 15,100. At the same time, there were fewer workers in accommodation and food services, as well as transportation and warehousing.

The report by Statistics Canada also shined a spotlight on the participation rate of women in the workforce.

Canada's February surge followed an even bigger gain of 66,800 positions in January. The unemployment rate held firm last month at 5.8 per cent as more people hunted for work.

The Canadian increase even outpaced job creation in the United States, where figures showed an increase of just 20,000 new positions last month.

More young Canadians, between the ages of 15 and 24 years old, found work last month as youth employment gained 28,600 positions.

Job growth in professional, scientific and technical services led employment growth, up by 18,000 jobs in February and increasing notably for the third time in four months.

Year-over-year average hourly wage growth in February for permanent employees was 2.3 per cent, which was up from a reading of 1.8 per cent in January. It's a key reason why the Bank of Canada is sticking to its belief the economy will rebound and interest rates will likely head higher. In a speech on Thursday, central bank deputy governor Lynn Patterson highlighted Canada's strong employment numbers as one bright spot in a mixed bag of economic data. Over the past year, employment in the industry has grown by 6.8 per cent.

For the third month in a row it was Ontario (+36.9k) and Quebec (+14.9k) that drove the overall gains, with little notable movement in the other provinces.

The jobs mix was generally good, with full-time employment firmly in the driver's seat (+67.4k).

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