Saturday, December 15, 2012

BC's Labour Market Forecast Dec., 2012


VANCOUVER, BC, Dec. 14, 2012/ Troy Media/ – British Columbia’s jobs machine is faltering. Employment fell for a second consecutive month in November, underscoring the sluggish pace of the economy and the seeming inability to generate sustained job growth.

Total estimated employment fell to 2.312 million persons in November, marking a decline of 4,700 (0.2 per cent) from October. While the dip was statistically insignificant, it came on the heels of a sharper drop of 0.5 per cent in October, suggesting a two-month decline of more than 15,500 workers. While there has been significant intra-period and inter-region variation, overall employment growth since March has essentially been nil.

Annual employment growth will hold steady at about 1.8 per cent for 2012, but gains will reflect a first quarter uptick and lower employment last year, rather than recent growth. Growth in full-time jobs has generally been a silver lining to weak headline gains, recent figures point to a slump in full-time work.

Although year-to-date growth is still robust near 3 per cent, full-time employment remained unchanged in November, following a 1 per cent drop in October. B.C.’s unemployment rate held steady in November edging up 0.1 percentage points to 6.8 per cent as the labour force contracted on a slightly lower adult participation rate.

Of course, the picture is not entirely gloomy as interregional differences persist. While overall employment growth is weak, recent declines have largely reflected declining employment in Metro Vancouver. Employment in Vancouver fell nearly 14,000 persons in November, offsetting gains outside the region and marking a second consecutive monthly drop. In contrast, the employment trend for the rest of the province has been positive, led by gains in northern B.C., the Kootenay and Vancouver Island.

Among B.C.’s industries, November’s decline was concentrated in service-oriented industries. Transportation and warehousing employment fell 4,900 persons (3.6 per cent) from October, while business/managerial services slumped 6 per cent. On a more positive note, goods-sector employment recovered slightly following October’s decline and led by a surge in natural resource extraction, which offset a near 5 per cent drop in manufacturing employment.

Lower Mainland-Southwest
The latest seasonally adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators were negative. Employment fell by 3,600 persons (0.2 per cent) over the latest three month period. Employment declines and population induced gains in the size of the labour force pulled the regional unemployment rate up 0.5 percentage points to 7.2 per cent from three months prior.

Vancouver Island-Coast
The latest seasonally adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators were positive. Employment surged by 8,240 persons (2.3 per cent) over the latest three month period. Employment growth outpaced labour force gains to generate a drop in the regional unemployment rate to 5.8 per cent, down 0.4 percentage points from three months prior. While the unemployment rate was low, it understates weakness in the regional labour market. The labour force participation rate remained below 60 per cent in November, which was down from norms of above 63 per cent observed from 2006 to 2010, suggesting a significant number of discouraged workers in the region.

Thompson-Okanagan

The latest seasonally adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators were negative. Employment contracted sharply by 10,100 persons (3.8 per cent) over the latest three month period. While some of the loss may reflect sampling variability, the magnitude of decline suggests real employment losses in the region. Estimated employment declines outpaced the pace of labour force contraction pushing up the regional unemployment rate by 1.3 percentage points to 6.3 per cent.

Kootenay
The latest seasonally adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators were positive. Employment rose by 3,260 persons (4.4 per cent) over the latest three month period. Positive employment trends have fuelled a rebound in the regional participation rate in recent months, generating significant growth in the size of the labour force. This has lifted the unemployment rate by 0.4 percentage points to 7.5 per cent in October relative to three months prior.

Cariboo
The latest seasonally-adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators were positive. Employment grew by 1,640 persons (1.9 per cent) over the last three month period. While the regional participation rate remained elevated at above 72 per cent, it was down slightly from three-months prior, contributing to a slight decline in the size of the labour force. As a result, the regional unemployment rate slid to 5.6 per cent, down 2.4 percentage points over the same period.

North Coast-Nechako
The latest seasonally adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators were positive but regional conditions remained weak. Employment rose by 700 persons (1.9 per cent) over the latest three month period which outpaced the pace of labour force expansion. As a result, the regional unemployment rate fell 0.7 percentage points from three-months earlier, but remained high at 10.5 per cent.

Northeast
The latest seasonally adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators were positive. Regional employment rose by 1,070 persons (2.7 per cent) over the latest three month period. Employment gains outpaced labour force expansion which likely yielded another decline in the unemployment rate. Unemployment rate estimates were suppressed for the Northeast region of the province, which likely reflected confidentiality concerns due to low unemployment levels and small sample-size. In October, the unemployment rate was 3.8 per cent.

| Central 1 Credit Union

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