B.C. shed 2,000 jobs in April for first losses in nine months

Unemployment rate increases to 5.4 per cent

The province saw 4,800 jobs in health care lost in April, according to Statistics Canada | Rob Kruyt, BIV

B.C.’s jobs hot streak has come to an end.

The province shed 2,000 jobs in April, the first time it’s posted losses since July 2021, according to Statistics Canada data released Friday.

These losses helped increase the unemployment rate 0.3 percentage points to 5.4 per cent last month.

Canada’s unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage point to 5.2 per cent as the country added 15,300 jobs.

Notable losses hit B.C.’s transportation/warehousing sector (-5,000 jobs), health care (-4,800 jobs) and accommodation/food services (-3,700 jobs).

Business, building and other support services (+5,800 jobs) saw the biggest gains, followed by finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing positions (+3,900 jobs).

“The low jobless rates in almost all provinces drive home the bigger point that the labour market is now extraordinarily tight,” BMO chief economist Douglas Porter said in a note. 

“In fact, perhaps one reason for the rapid moderation in job growth is that employers simply can no longer find workers – so the cooling is more of a supply side story (lack of available workers) and not an indication of slowing demand.”

Meanwhile, unemployment in Metro Vancouver rose 0.2 percentage points 5.6 per cent – higher than the provincial average – as the region lost 600 jobs in April.

TD senior economist James Orlando is forecasting more modest job gains for the country as a whole, keeping the unemployment rate in the low 5 per cent range. 

“With the unemployment rate at 5.2%, the economy is at full employment,” he said in a note, referring to national numbers. 

“This means it will be harder and harder to produce the kind of outsized job gains witnessed in recent months.”

CIBC economist Andrew Grantham said in a note the latest jobs numbers won't deter the Bank of Canada from hiking its key rate another 50 basis points following its next announcement in June.