Unemployment rate remains low in Greater Victoria

Greater Victoria’s unemployment rate was unchanged last month at 3.2 per cent  thanks to growth in the services producing sectors, according to Statistics Canada’s monthly labour force survey.

The survey released Friday showed Greater Victoria once again had the nation’s second lowest unemployment rate — tied with Brantford, Ont., and behind only Quebec City, which were at 3 per cent.

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In October last year, Victoria’s unemployment rate was 3.9 per cent.

Statistics Canada said overall employment in Victoria increased by 3,500 positions.

The growth came from growing public administration, which added 7,200 positions over the last 12 months, while finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing added 1,300, and information, culture and recreation added 1,200.

There were declines seen over the last year in health care, which dropped 6,200 positions, wholesale and retail trade lost 2,700 jobs and manufacturing shed 1,500.

Employment in the province has increased by 50,000 over the past 12 months, according to Statistics Canada, driven by increases in full-time work for those aged 55 and over. The unemployment rate in B.C. was little changed at 4.7%, the lowest in Canada.

B.C. Minister of Jobs Bruce Ralston said the results show the resilience of the B.C. economy.

“In the big three categories of job growth, wages and unemployment, B.C. performed exceptionally well in the month of October. The province created 15,300 jobs, more than any other province — the vast majority being full-time jobs,” he said.

Nationally, the number of people working dipped in October following two months of big gains as the manufacturing and construction sectors lost jobs.

Statistics Canada said the economy lost 1,800 jobs in October, following gains of 54,000 jobs in September and 81,000 in August.

The number of full-time jobs fell by 16,100, offset in part by a gain of 14,300 part-time jobs, while the unemployment rate held steady at 5.5%.

Economists on average expected the economy to add a total of 15,900 jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.5%, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Scotiabank deputy chief economist Brett House said the October jobs numbers were the weakest since July, but added that one soft month won’t have much impact on the Bank of Canada’s stance, particularly after the strong gains in the two months that preceded it.

The manufacturing sector lost 23,000 jobs, mostly in Ontario, while the construction sector lost 21,000. Employment in the “other services” industry also fell by 18,000.

The losses were offset in part by an increase of 20,000 jobs working in public administration and 18,000 in finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing.

The jobs report comes after the Bank of Canada’s decision late last month to keep its key interest rate on hold at 1.75%.

In making its decision, the central bank said inflation was on target and the domestic economy has held up well in many respects, even though it’s feeling the negative effects of slowing global growth.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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