As job losses mount, B.C. loses claim to Canada’s lowest unemployment rate

Prospective Site C workers | Alaska Highway News file photo

What happened: Statistics Canada reveals the province lost 8,300 jobs in August

Why it matters: It’s the third straight month of job losses for B.C.

B.C. no longer holds the bragging rights to being home to Canada’s lowest unemployment rate.

The province lost 8,300 jobs in August, sending unemployment from 4.7% (revised in Statistics Canada’s latest release from 4.4%) to 5% month to month, according to data posted Friday (September 6) by the national statistics agency.

Quebec in turn usurped B.C.’s longtime claim to the lowest unemployment rate in Canada as la belle province saw a drop of 0.2 percentage points to 4.9% between July and August.

August marks the third consecutive month B.C. has shed jobs, following 4,800 positions lost in July and 3,700 positions lost in June.

Hardest hit sectors in B.C. last month included health care and social assistance (-8,600 jobs); business, building and other support services (-4,800 jobs); and construction (-4,300 jobs).

Gains were made in professional, scientific and technical services (+8,800 jobs); educational services (+3,300 jobs); and agriculture (+2,200 jobs).

While B.C.’s performance lagged in August, Canada as a whole added 81,100 jobs, while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.7%. 

“As encouraging as today's [national] data is, we think concrete evidence on the consumer front will matter more in the Bank of Canada's rate setting decisions,” TD senior economist Brian DePratto said in a note to investors.