The unemployment rate in British Columbia has slipped down to 5.9% in July from 6.2% in June, according to revised Statistics Canada data released August 15.
StatsCan had on August 8 reported an unemployment rate for the province of 6.1%. Due to the discovery of an internal error, all employment data for July has since been revised.
The dip in the unemployment rate is mostly due to the fact that fewer people participated in the labour force in July compared with a month ago. However, the good news is that while 14,200 part-time jobs were lost in the month, the same amount was gained in full-time positions.
By comparison, one year ago, B.C.’s unemployment rate was 0.9 percentage points higher, at 6.8%.
Canada-wide, the unemployment rate remains at 7% after the revision. However, StatsCan now reports that 41,700 new jobs have been added over the month. This is in sharp contrast to the 200 new jobs reported August 8.
“Canadian employment was actually up handsomely in July, although that really just brought the jobs picture into better line with what we were already assuming for economic growth,” said CIBC economist Avery Shenfeld.
Shenfeld points out that the jobs gained were all part-time, including a jump of 46,000 jobs in education, which is likely due to timing of teachers’ contracts.
“If one stripped out [the education jobs gains], it would have looked much closer to flat, as declines in construction employment offset gains in manufacturing and services.”
The Canadian dollar spiked to US$0.92 upon release of the revised data, after closing at US$0.917 August 14. However, as of press time, the dollar has slipped back down to US$0.916.
Statistics Canada said that the jobs report issued last week was incorrect due to “human error.” A database redesign was implemented with the July release, and one of the necessary programs was not updated.
“Certain respondents that should have been classified as employed were counted as not in the labour force resulting in an overestimation of job losses in full-time employment,” StatsCan said in an August 15 release.
It said this should not happen again.
“It was an isolated incident,” said chief statistician Wayne Smith.