‘Labour markets didn't get the memo’ — B.C. adds 3,600 jobs in February

B.C. unemployment rate remains lowest in Canada

What happened: B.C. adds 3,600 jobs in February; unemployment rate falls 0.2 percentage points to 4.5 per cent.

What it means: Positive economic data for the province even amid signs of an economic slowdown.

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Is there any ceiling for job growth in B.C.?

The province added another 3,600 jobs in February and maintained its stranglehold on the country’s lowest unemployment rate, according to data released March 8 from Statistics Canada.

“Labour markets didn't get the memo. The weak economic data that closed out 2018, and weak momentum heading into this year has not yet had any impact on labour markets,” said TD senior economist Brian DePratto in an investors’ note, referring to Canada’s overall gains in jobs.

The nation as a whole added 55,900 jobs while the unemployment rate remained static at 5.8 per cent as more people entered the workforce.

But B.C.’s unemployment rate fell another 0.2 percentage points from January to land at 4.5 per cent — the lowest among all provinces.

Economic data from earlier this month revealed continued signs of a cooling economy, as gross domestic product figures showed growth of 1.8 per cent in 2018 compared with 3 per cent a year earlier.

Bank of Canada deputy governor Lynn Patterson said in a speech March 7 that the country’s anticipated economic slowdown has been “sharper and more broad-based than expected.”

The central bank had declined to hike its benchmark rate the day before Patterson’s remarks amid signs of a slowing economy.

“The ongoing gains in employment suggest that the current soft patch in broader activity is not morphing into something more ominous,” BMO chief economist Douglas Porter wrote to investors.

torton@biv.com

@reporton

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