Wednesday, July 17, 2013

BC Labour Market Forecast - July 2013


 B.C.'s labour market turned in a solid month of employment creation in June.

VANCOUVER, BC, Jul 16, 2013/ Troy Media/ – B.C.’s labour market played catch up in June and turned in a solid month of employment creation after lagging the rest of the country in May.

Estimated provincial employment rose to the highest level since September, reaching a seasonally-adjusted 2.32 million persons in June. This marked a gain of 8,900 persons or 0.4 per cent from May, led by a rebound in full-time jobs and youth employment. Provincial unemployment fell to a five-month low of 6.3 per cent.

Employment in Metro Vancouver fell 0.2 per cent in June marking a second monthly decline, but was offset by gains elsewhere in the province, particularly on the Island and Cariboo.

Among B.C. industries, growth was a mixed bag with significant employment swings, both up and down. Agricultural employment rebounded from May’s decline by adding 5,300 persons (21.8 per cent), while retail and wholesale trade employment increased by 12,200 persons (3.2 per cent). On the flip-side, losses were recorded in information, culture and recreation, which plunged by 15,800 persons (13.5 per cent) and public administration, which declined 6 per cent by 7,900 persons.

June’s topline employment growth was generally encouraging and suggests a positive turn for the provincial labour market as employment levels broke out of the narrow range observed over the past year. However, caution is still warranted given that monthly estimates fluctuate significantly and only time will tell if the gains are real or a statistical blip. Positive trends in export and housing sectors suggest we could be seeing more of the former.

Despite the positive news, the labour market remains sluggish at best. Employment was still down from year ago levels in June, and average growth through the first six months of the year was less than 0.1 per cent – which is essentially nil. The only silver lining has been stronger but still negligible gains in full-time employment.

Annual declines in the unemployment rate reflect a lower labour force participation rate rather than a tightening market. Some prospective workers may have stepped back from the labour market given weak job prospects, rather than join the ranks of officially unemployed. We have lowered this year’s employment growth forecast to 0.5 per cent, which is forecast to give way to a subdued gain of 1.4 per cent next year as tempered economic growth continues to weigh on hiring.

Lower Mainland-Southwest
The latest seasonally adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators were neutral. Employment levels rose by a modest 2,280 persons or 0.2 per cent over the latest three-month period. Employment gains were generally matched by growth in the labour force. Unemployment reached 6.7 per cent of the labour force in June, up 0.1 percentage points from three-months prior.
Vancouver Island-Coast
The latest seasonally adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators were positive. Employment rose by 0.8 per cent over the latest three month period as June employment jumped marking a gain of 2,930 persons from three-months prior. However, employment growth was exceeded by growth in the labour force, as labour force participation climbed. The unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 6.4 per cent.

Thompson-Okanagan
The latest seasonally adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators were neutral. Employment eased slightly over the latest three-month period, declining by an estimated 635 persons or 0.3 per cent. However, the labour force expanded by 0.4 per cent on population growth and a higher participation rate, contributing to a 0.2 percentage point increase in the unemployment rate to 6.3 per cent.
Kootenay
The latest seasonally adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators were positive. Employment rose by a modest 400 persons (0.5 per cent) over the latest three month period – extending the uptrend observed since mid-2012. However, employment growth was outpaced by labour force expansion as the participation rate increased on positive employment trends. The regional unemployment rate rose one percentage point to 6.6 relative to three months prior.
Cariboo
The latest seasonally-adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators were neutral in June. Employment was generally unchanged over the latest three month period, rising by about 100 persons or 0.1 per cent. Unemployment rose 1.4 percentage points to an estimated 5.2 per cent of the labour force over the same period on labour force expansion. Despite this increase, regional unemployment remained among the lowest in the province.
North Coast-Nechako
The latest seasonally adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators were mixed. Employment fell by about 310 persons (0.8 per cent) over the latest three month period. However, the regional unemployment rate fell 0.7 percentage points to 6.7 per cent over the same period on a decline in the participation rate.
Northeast
The latest seasonally adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators were negative. Regional employment contracted by 2,190 persons (5.6 per cent) over the latest three month period. While the labour force also contracted over the same period on a lower participation rate, the regional unemployment rate rose 0.3 percentage points. Nonetheless at 4.9 per cent of the labour force, unemployment remained lowest in the province.
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