B.C. adds 4,400 jobs in December amid ‘so-so’ numbers for country

Province still squeaking out gains after prior 'rip-roaring' month

Port workers in Vancouver | BIV file photo

B.C. added 4,400 jobs during the holidays with a burst of full-time employment making up for big losses among part-time workers.

While 18,300 part-time jobs evaporated last month, data released Friday (January 4) from Statistics Canada reveals the province added 22,700 full-time positions to make up for losses.

B.C.’s unemployment rate, meanwhile, remained in a holding pattern at 4.4% between November and December.

Despite no monthly change, the unemployment rate remains the lowest in Canada.

The West Coast was second only to Ontario (+17,600) in terms of gains among provinces, while Alberta was cut deep with job losses mounting to 16,900.

Overall, the nation added a total of 9,300 jobs to the workforce in December while the national unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.6%.

“Today’s so-so report must be put in the context of the rip-roaring result in the prior month,” BMO chief economist Douglas Porter wrote in a note to investors, referring to when Canada recorded gains of 89,900 jobs and B.C. recorded gains of 15,900 jobs in November.

“Overall, what we’re left with is an economy that remains very close to full employment, that’s now grinding out job gains roughly in line with labour force growth, and yet wage gains are just managing to roughly track underlying inflation.”

Porter added that he doesn’t believe anything in the new jobs data will sway the Bank of Canada in terms of a rate decision.

torton@biv.com

@reporton