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B.C. employment lacking upward momentum
February 8, 2012
VANCOUVER, BC, Feb. 8, 2012/ Troy Media/ – 2012 began on a flat note for B.C.’s labour market as employment levels remained essentially unchanged from December.
Estimated employment edged down by an insignificant 0.1 per cent from December to fall to 2.29 million persons while national employment inched up 0.1 per cent.
While there was little change in total employment, part-time employment grew by 1 per cent which partially offset a contraction in the number of full-time workers during the month.
The small employment decline in January and fluctuations in recent months point to a lacklustre labour market lacking upward momentum. While September’s stronger uptick in employment was maintained in the following months, there has been no net growth in full-time employment, while part-time employment has generally trended lower.
This lack of traction could reflect modest levels of business confidence amidst a more uncertain macro-economic environment. B.C.’s job mix continues to suggest underlying weakness in the labour market.
Full-time employment gained in the latter half of 2011 but remained low as a share of total employment. This share averaged about 77 per cent in 2011, which is about 2 per centage points lower than the long-term average.
The labour market recovery in recent years has been driven by part-time work. As a result, total employment hours worked in the economy has yet to rebound to peak levels despite stronger gains in total employment.
Despite the January’s flat employment estimate, the provincial unemployment rate fell 0.1 per centage points to 6.9 per cent, reflecting a contraction in the labour force as the provincial participation rate fell back. The provincial unemployment rate has gradually declined from the peaks observed in mid-2009, but remained well above pre-recession levels.
Industry-level employment estimates can fluctuate substantially on a monthly basis, but notable and significant changes in January were observed in professional/ scientific/technical services which fell 13 per cent from December and accommodations/foodservices which decline 5 per cent. Such large declines point to some level of sampling variability, which will likely reverse in the following months.
Nonetheless, declines were statistically significant, and suggest underlying weakness in these sectors in January. Offsetting these declines were gains in business services (16 per cent), finance/insurance/ real estate and leasing (6 per cent) and manufacturing (6 per cent). Recent short-term industry-level employment trends suggest expansion in manufacturing, utilities, transportation/ warehousing, and health services employment. Meanwhile, employment in construction, retail/ wholesale trade, and accommodations/foodservices has turned lower after peaking in mid-to-late 2011.
The latest seasonally adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators are negative. Employment declined by 11,700 persons (-0.8 per cent) over the latest three month period. The regional unemployment rate edged up 0.1 per centage points as the regional labour force fell by a similar magnitude.
The latest seasonally adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators improved in January. Employment declined by 7,900 individuals (2.2 per cent) over the latest three month period. Despite a rise in the labour force, the regional unemployment rate fell 0.8 per centage points to 6.4 per cent over the same period.
The latest seasonally adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators are positive. Estimated employment rose by 4,900 persons (2 per cent) over the latest three month period. The regional unemployment rate fell from 7.9 per cent to 7.6 per cent over the same period.
The latest seasonally adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators are positive. Employment rose by 2,500 persons (3.4 per cent) over the latest three month period. The region’s unemployment rate fell from 7.3 per cent to 6.3 per cent as employment growth outpaced labour force additions.
The latest seasonally-adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators are neutral. Employment fell by 200 persons (-0.3 per cent) over the last three month period. However, the unemployment rate fell from 8.2 per cent to 7.7 per cent, reflecting a larger decline in the regional labour force
The latest seasonally adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators are negative. Employment fell by 1,000 persons (-2.4 per cent) over the latest three month period. Employment declines coupled with a higher labour force pushed the unemployment rate up to 11.8 per cent from 8.9 per cent, the highest in more than a year.
The latest seasonally adjusted, short-term trends in labour market indicators are positive. Regional employment declined rose by 2,700 persons (7.6 per cent over the latest three month period. While the regional unemployment rate was suppressed during the month (due to the small sample size, and potential confidentiality concerns), the regional rate has fluctuated within a province-low range of 4 per cent to 4.3 per cent from June through September.
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