Unemployment rate in Northeast BC continued to rise in February

Jeannie Matthews
March 11, 2019

The breakdown in the numbers was also positive, with 67,400 new full-time jobs offsetting a loss of 11,600 part-time positions. Canada even beat the disappointing U.S. February tally of 20,000 - for the first month in more than 8 years.

The unemployment rate in Northeast B.C. saw an increase last month of 0.5 percent, up to 6.0 percent when compared to January's rate of 5.5 percent.

The national unemployment rate did not change either January to February, although the economy added another 56,000 net jobs, mostly full-time, and the bulk of them in Ontario.

This is the best month for jobs since 2012, and this strong February comes after an even stronger January.

"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. Reinforced by both the weak end to 2018 and Bank communication this week, solid job trends over the past year have not been translating into consumer spending.

The goods-producing sectors added 9,500 new positions following job gains in natural resources, agriculture and manufacturing.

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The Bank of Canada's benchmark interest rate is at 1.75 percent.

Wages accelerated to 2.2 percent for permanent employees. In particular, the central bank focuses on a reading called "wage common", which incorporates payroll data from several sources, not just from the labour force survey.

"Continued strength in job creation, especially full time, alongside recovering wage growth will help support income and spending growth this year", Alicia Macdonald, principal economist for The Conference Board of Canada, wrote in a research note.

The employment gains in recent months come amid an otherwise dismal performance for the economy recently, amid stresses in the oil sector, weakening housing markets, volatility in global financial markets and waning consumer and business confidence.

That's a small increase in the jobless rate from the month before, when it was 8.3 per cent, but down from February a year ago, when it was 8.9 per cent.

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