B.C. adds 15,300 jobs in October, reversing months of losses

What happened: B.C.’s unemployment rate fell as the province added thousands of new jobs in October

Why it matters: The West Coast piled up four consecutive months of losses

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B.C. is correcting course following months of job losses stretching back to the summer.

The province added 15,300 jobs to the economy in October, according to data released Friday (Nov. 8) from Statistics Canada.

The gains helped push the unemployment rate down 0.1 per cent to 4.7 per cent — taking back the country’s lowest unemployment rate from Quebec.

Losses had been mounting since June, with the province bleeding jobs for four straight months.

But last month’s burst of job growth in B.C. wasn’t enough to stave off losses in Central Canada, as the nation as a whole lost 1,800 jobs.

Unemployment remained unchanged at 5.5 per cent.

“As always, we would be extremely cautious about reading too much into one month of Canadian employment data, and would stress three big figures that did not budge an inch from last month — the jobless rate of 5.5 per cent, wage growth of 4.3 per cent, and yearly job growth of 2.4 per cent,” BMO chief economist Douglas Porter said in a note to investors, referring to the national numbers.

“All three metrics reflect a very healthy underlying employment picture, and that is what the Bank of Canada will focus on, not a one-month wobble in jobs.”

B.C. experienced notable losses in health care and social assistance (-2,300 jobs), business, building and other support services (-5,800) and manufacturing (-1,700 jobs).

Gains came from wholesale and retail trade (+6,200 jobs), real estate- and finance-related positions (+2,300 jobs), as well as accommodation and food services (+11,800 jobs).

torton@biv.com

@reporton

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