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300 more working in September

Broken down by industry, B.C.'s biggest job gains last month were in utilities, education, and natural resources
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B.C.’s biggest job gains in September 2022 were in utilities (+6,400 jobs), education (+6,300 jobs), and natural resources (+4,600 jobs).

Unemployment in Northeast B.C. was once again too low to report in September.

It’s the fourth time this year that Stats Canada has withheld data in its monthly labour force survey, citing confidentiality.

Unemployment was too low to report in January, February, and March, before rising to a peak of 5% in May and June.

According to Stats-Can, there were 38,200 people working in September, 300 more than reported in August.

Unemployment figures as well as the unemployment rate were suppressed to meet confidentiality requirements of the Statistics Act.

The agency says it suppresses estimates below 1,500 unemployed people to prevent “direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data."

With an estimated labour force of 39,300, however, there were about 1,100 people unemployed last month.

A year ago in September 2021, there were 36,200 people employed and 2,200 unemployed.

And since the beginning of 2022, the jobs count is up by 900 from January, when 37,300 were reported employed.

Among all economic regions of B.C., the northeast has both the highest overall employment rate, 68.7% as of September, and labour participation rate, at 70.7% for the month.

2022 Northeast B.C. unemployment:

As for the rest of B.C., after shedding 28,100 jobs in August, the province recovered all those losses by adding 32,900 jobs in September.

While nationwide job losses totalled 39,700 in August, the country posted gains of 21,000 jobs last month.

"This is a Canadian jobs report without the drama and fully consistent with a slowing economy,” BMO chief economist Douglas Porter said in a note, referring to the national numbers.

“Job conditions are certainly not cool enough to prompt the Bank of Canada to fully back off from its aggressive tightening campaign. But at the same time, the underlying calming suggests that the Bank may at least consider slowing the pace of hikes.”

B.C.’s unemployment rate dropped significantly last month – down 0.5 percentage points to reach 4.3%. Such a low rate of unemployment continues to put strains on labour markets already dealing with widespread labour shortages.

Canada’s unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points last month to land at 5.2%.

“That excess of labour demand versus available supply will limit the pace of further increases in the unemployment rate near-term, even as the number of job postings continues to slow, and will continue to add to wage pressures," RBC assistant chief economist Nathan Janzen said in a note, referring to the national data.

While it appears on the surface that B.C. made up losses between September and August, a closer look at the difference between gains in full-time and part-time jobs reveals some notable gaps.

The province lost 31,900 full-time jobs in August at the same time it added 3,700 part-time jobs.

But most of B.C.'s gains last month came via part-time employment (22,400 jobs), while the province added 10,500 full-time jobs. That leaves more than 20,000 full-time jobs still missing between the past two months.

Broken down by industry, B.C.'s biggest gains were in utilities (+6,400 jobs), education (+6,300 jobs), and natural resources (+4,600 jobs).

The biggest losses were felt in manufacturing (-3,400 jobs), other services (-2,100 jobs), and public administration (-2,100 jobs).

— with files from Tyler Orton/Business in Vancouver

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