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BC employment hits first-quarter speed bump

Extending a recent hiring lull, BC employment fell by 0.2% (down 3,900 persons) from February in March, albeit with a rebound in full-time job growth.
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Extending a recent hiring lull, BC employment fell by 0.2% (down 3,900 persons) from February in March, albeit with a rebound in full-time job growth.

While the headline drop was insignificant, employment has declined over the past three months with no net gains since the summer.

The flat employment trend has whittled away the strong year-over-year growth trends observed through most of 2017 to just over 1%.

Nonetheless, the labour market environment remains tight, which is likely one reason for low hiring. BC’s unemployment rate remained at 4.7%, which was by far the lowest in the country and below the national average of 5.8%. Labour force participation points to a labour market operating near capacity. Plenty of jobs remain unfilled, with BC consistently showing the highest job vacancy rate in the country. Shortages are boosting wage pressures, which rose 5.6% year-over-year.

Central 1 Credit Union forecasts full-year average employment growth of 2.2% this year and 1.4% in 2019 and an unemployment rate of about 4.4%.

Bryan Yu is deputy chief economist at Central 1 Credit Union.

Bryan Yu / Business In Vancouver