Employment in British Columbia increased 3.2% in the 12 months to March, making the province Canada’s top performer when it comes to job growth over the period.
B.C. gained 72,000 jobs year-over-year in March, helped by an increase of 9,000 positions in the month, according to Statistics Canada data released April 8.
March’s gain pushed the province’s unemployment rate down a tick to 6.5%, although the rate is up 0.6 percentage points year-over-year from 5.9% in March 2015, as more people in B.C. were looking for work. Compared with a year ago, B.C. has added 39,000 full-time and 33,000 part-time jobs
Canada gained 130,000 jobs in the past year, pushing the unemployment rate down to 7.1%. The good news is this gain is solely due to growth of almost 134,000 full-time jobs, which was partially offset by a loss of 4,000 part-time positions. The country gained 41,000 jobs in the month—almost all full-time positions.
In March, Canada saw gains in health care (25,000 jobs, up 1.1%), hospitality (18,000 jobs, up 1.5%) and professional, scientific and technical jobs (12,000 jobs, up 0.9%). This growth was offset by a loss of 32,000 manufacturing jobs (down 1.8%).
“This is a welcome good news report for the economy, even if the jobs data are always a tad suspect,” BMO Financial chief economist Douglas Porter wrote in a note to investors. “The upturn in jobs reinforces the point that growth did indeed improve early in 2016 and will give the Bank of Canada a bit more comfort in revising up their annual growth outlook in next week’s Monetary Policy Report.”
Porter said BMO now predicts the central bank’s GDP growth forecast could jump from 1.4% to 2% but still cautions against reading too much into the jobs data.
“We do not believe that the economy has suddenly transitioned to above-potential growth in a sustainable manner, and a big drop in factory jobs is a loud cautionary tale in this release,” Porter said.
The Canadian dollar jumped more than half a cent on the release of this morning’s report, reaching just over 77 cents U.S. before settling at around 76.9 cents U.S. at press time.
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