Smart Education in Canada : Employment surged in October: labour survey

British Columbia's labour market posted an impressive employment gain in October, and a steady unemployment rate as a solid economic backdrop continued to spur hiring. The latest Labour Force Survey estimates showed a statistically significant employment gain of 1% from September, representing about 23,300 positions. While monthly data is prone to fluctuations, this extends a clearly positive trend going back to May, and same-month growth accelerated to 3.1%. In comparison, national employment growth was 0.2% month-over-month, and 0.8% year-over-year. B.C.’s unemployment rate held steady at 6.3%.

Gains were recorded in full-time (0.6%) and part-time employment (2.5%) from September. Despite the difference in growth, gains were split evenly between the two. Year-over-year, growth is being led by full-time job creation. Total job gains and rotation to full-time employment have driven real employment growth and an upward trend in total hours worked, which climbed 0.8% from September, and nearly 5% year-over-year.

Provincial figures are, however, masking a divergence between the Vancouver census metropolitan area and the rest of the province. October’s employment lift was concentrated in the metro region, which climbed 1.9%, with aggregate employment elsewhere in the province contracting – extending a trend seen since August. Metropolitan Vancouver is clearly B.C.’s jobs engine at this point with same-month employment up 4.2% from 2014, compared with 1.2% elsewhere in the province. This reflects stronger economic activity in B.C.’s south coast as labour markets in other regions have tempered due to weak commodity prices and negative spillover from Alberta’s economic slowdown.

Among industries, monthly employment growth was driven by a broad increase across almost all services-producing sectors. The largest and most significant contributors included health care and social assistance (2.3% or 6,900 persons) and professional, scientific and technical services (2.1% or 5,200 persons). In contrast, goods-producing sector employment declined 1.3% or 6,100 persons to offset some of these gains.

ncreased hiring momentum in recent months pushed year-to-date average employment growth to a respectable 1% in October, which should hold through the end of year. However, the provincial unemployment rate has remained significantly higher than previously forecast and will likely average above 6%. Stronger hiring has enticed some out-of-work individuals to search for jobs again, lifting the labour force participation rate to the highest level since early 2013.

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