B.C. gains 31,000 jobs in May, private-sector employment surges across Canada

June 5, 2015

By Vancouver Sun

B.C.’s economy was up by 31,000 jobs in May, mostly in part-time work, as the rest of the country saw a surge in the labour force, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The number of jobs added in B.C. follows a similar-sized decrease in April, which was mainly in full-time employment.

The province’s unemployment rate, however, remained unchanged at 6.1 per cent in May, the agency said, as more people participated in the labour market. In the 12 months to May, employment in the province was little changed.

Sectors that saw the most growth last month in B.C. were health care and social assistance, and accommodation and food services. There were also a few increases in business, building and other support services, while the professional, scientific and technical services were also slightly up, the agency said.

Nationally, the labour force received a boost of 58,900 net jobs last month thanks to a surge in private-sector work that more than offset April’s losses.

Even with the increase, the national unemployment rate in May remained locked at 6.8 per cent for the fourth straight month, after more people entered the workforce, the agency’s latest job-market report found.

The monthly survey provided a fresh reading on Canada’s second-quarter economic data, a batch of indicators under close scrutiny after the economy contracted in the first three months of the year.

Last week, Statistics Canada released data showing the economy shrank at an annualized rate of 0.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2015, a dismal result that led to a wave of downgraded economic projections on how the rest of the year will play out.

The Canadian job numbers for May surpassed economists’ expectations and more than offset April’s loss of 19,700 positions. The consensus projection of economists had predicted a gain of 10,000 jobs in May, according to Thomson Reuters.

The United States also added a robust 280,000 jobs in May, according to the U.S. Labour department.

Statistics Canada reported the country added 56,800 private-sector positions last month and lost 19,100 public-sector jobs. It also found the number of full-time jobs climbed by 30,900 while part-time positions rose by 27,900.

The manufacturing sector gained 21,500 positions in May, rising for the second-consecutive month. The category of health care and social assistance also saw a considerable increase in work, adding 20,700 positions.

The natural-resources industry, hit hard by the decline in energy prices, shed 2,400 jobs, the report said.

By region, the provinces of Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia added jobs, while Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba and New Brunswick lost positions. The other provinces only saw small changes.

Ontario received the biggest employment boost by adding 43,900 jobs last month, a flood of new positions that shaved 0.3 percentage points off the provincial jobless rate, which slid to 6.5 per cent.

The youth unemployment rate fell to 13.2 per cent, down from 13.6 per cent in April. The economy added 11,900 net positions last month for young workers, aged 15 to 24, compared to the month before.

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