Published: Sun, March 10, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Unemployment rate in Northeast BC continued to rise in February

Unemployment rate in Northeast BC continued to rise in February

In particular, the employment figures arrived a week after another report showed Canada had a period of unexpectedly weak growth for the final three months of 2018. Reinforced by both the weak end to 2018 and Bank communication this week, solid job trends over the past year have not been translating into consumer spending.

Caranci said the Bank of Canada will likely view the February numbers "as a positive sign and a bit of a relief".

Employers added 55,900 jobs in February, which was the third month of outsized gains in the last four and exceeded the 20,000 jobs created in the United States for the same month.

Part-time job losses of 11,600 were offset by an increase of 67,400 full-time jobs.

Alberta's employment level was mostly unchanged from January and last February, but the agency says the number of people looking for work has increased, pushing the provincial unemployment rate up to 7.3 percent. Economists had been expecting low numbers for February, with a little over 1,000 new jobs.

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The goods-producing sectors added 9,500 new positions following job gains in natural resources, agriculture and manufacturing.

Year-over-year average hourly wage growth in February for permanent employees was 2.3 per cent, up from January's reading of 1.8 per cent. It's a key reason why the Bank of Canada is sticking to its belief the economy will rebound and interest rates will likely head higher.

"Continued strength in job creation, especially full time, alongside recovering wage growth will help support income and spending growth this year", Alicia Macdonald, principal economist for The Conference Board of Canada, wrote in a research note.

That's up from 4.8 per cent in January but down from the 5.3 per cent the rate was at the same time past year. The number of public-service workers in the region fell from 164,300 in January to 162,600 last month. National employment in this industry rose by 6.8% year over year, up by 97,000 jobs.

The employment gains in recent months come amid an otherwise dismal performance for the economy recently, amid stresses in the oil sector, weakening housing markets, volatility in global financial markets and waning consumer and business confidence.

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