Region, province boast best jobs data in Canada

Greater Victoria had the lowest unemployment rate in Canada and British Columbia led the nation in that category for the 18th consecutive month after Statistics Canada revealed its jobs data from February.

The region’s unemployment slipped to 3.2 per cent, an improvement from 3.6 per cent in January. The provincial rate was 4.5 per cent, two percentage points lower than the previous month.

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“British Columbia maintains the strongest economy in the country, and we’re committed to continue working hard and putting people first,” Bruce Ralston, minister of jobs, trade and technology, said in a statement Friday.

“An additional 69,200 jobs were added in the past year — the vast majority being full time and in the private sector. Good jobs with good wages mean that British Columbians, their families and communities are benefiting from our strong economy.”

Ralston noted that on International Women’s Day, the province is “especially encouraged to see that employment for women in B.C. has increased by 2.9 per cent in the past year.”

Nationally, the labour market generated a second straight month of strong job gains in February with the creation of 55,900 net new positions, all of which were full time.

The surge followed an even bigger gain of 66,800 positions in January. The back-to-back results gave Canada its strongest two-month stretch of job creation since the spring of 2012 — and its best two-month start to a year since 1981.

The unemployment rate held firm last month at 5.8 per cent as more people hunted for work, the agency said in its latest labour force survey.

The encouraging numbers provided a bright spot for the economy, which has posted disappointing data in recent months. 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.

TD Bank chief economist Beata Caranci said employment has been Canada’s one area of consistency — and she believes it will help put a floor under the economy. “It was a very good number for Canada, and it’s a relief because we sort of needed a win on the Canadian data side,” Caranci said. “We continue to see steady gains in employment and improvements in the participation rates. And so, every time you think that there’s no more workers to hire, there’s more workers that seem to get hired.”

— With a file from the Times Colonist

Canada

February employment (numbers from the previous month in parentheses):

Unemployment rate — 5.8 per cent (5.8)

Employment rate — 62 per cent (61.8)

Participation rate — 65.8 per cent (65.6)

Number unemployed — 1,161,300 (1,162,000)

Number working — 18,929,800 (18,873,900)

Youth (15-24 years) unemployment — 10.8 per cent (11.2)

Men (25 plus) unemployment — 5.2 per cent (5.2)

Women (25 plus) unemployment rate — 4.7 per cent (4.6)

Provincial unemployment rates

Newfoundland/Labrador — 11.8 per cent (11.4)

Prince Edward Island — 10.3 (9.9)

Nova Scotia — 6.4 (6.9)

New Brunswick — 8.5 (8.2)

Quebec — 5.3 (5.4)

Ontario — 5.7 (5.7)

Manitoba — 5.3 (5.5)

Saskatchewan — 5.8 (5.5)

Alberta — 7.3 (6.8)

British Columbia — 4.5 (4.7)

Unemployment rates for cities

St. John’s, N.L. — 7.4 (7.4)

Halifax — 4.9 (5.1)

Moncton, N.B. — 5.8 (5.4)

Saint John, N.B. — 6.0 (6.2)

Saguenay, Que. — 4.9 (4.8)

Quebec — 3.9 (3.8)

Sherbrooke, Que. — 4.4 (5.2)

Montreal — 5.9 (6.1)

Ottawa — 5.0 (5.3)

Kingston, Ont. — 5.3 (5.8)

Peterborough, Ont. — 6.6 (5.9)

Oshawa, Ont. — 5.1 (5.6)

Toronto — 6.3 (6.1)

Hamilton, Ont. — 3.7 (3.9)

St. Catharines-Niagara, Ont. — 6.8 (6.8)

Brantford, Ont. — 4.6 (5.9)

Guelph, Ont. — 4.7 (4.9)

London, Ont. — 5.4 (5.2)

Windsor, Ont. — 5.2 (5.2)

Barrie, Ont. — 5.2 (5.1)

Sudbury, Ont. — 6.0 (6.7)

Thunder Bay, Ont. — 6.0 (5.5)

Winnipeg — 5.6 (5.7)

Regina — 4.8 (4.8)

Saskatoon — 6.1 (5.8)

Calgary — 7.6 (7.3)

Edmonton — 7.0 (6.4)

Kelowna — 3.5 (3.1)

Abbotsford-Mission — 5.0 (4.8)

Vancouver — 4.9 (4.8)

Victoria — 3.2 (3.6)

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