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B.C. JOB SITUATION SHOWS SLIGHT IMPROVEMENT IN JANUARY

February 6, 2015

British Columbia’s economy held steady for the first month of the year, with a few gains made in full-time work, according to Statistics Canada.

The agency said 6,700 jobs were added in January, mostly full time positions in the manufacturing sector. The gains were offset by losses in part-time work, and mostly in transportation and warehousing. The unemployment rate rose, but only slightly, to 5.6 per cent from 5.5 per cent.

Year over year, the economy added 11,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate fell by .8 percentage points from a high last year of 6.4 per cent.

Nationally, employment in Canada rose by 35,400, with gains in part-time work, while the unemployment rate fell to 6.6 per cent from 6.7 per cent. Part-time positions rose by 47,200 in January, while full-time employment declined by 11,800.

The economy also added 41,100 self-employed positions last month, while employee jobs across the country dropped by 5,700.

“Canada’s job numbers were good, but not quite as good as they looked at first glance, given a tilt to part-time and self employed positions,” CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld wrote in a note to clients Friday.

“All told, not a banner set of details, but at least a signpost that November’s GDP drop, and December’s retreat in employment, was not harbingers of an outright economic decline.”

StatsCan recently indicated that Canada’s gross domestic product declined 0.2 per cent in November compared with the previous month — a weaker-than-expected reading — primarily due to declines in manufacturing and key resource sectors.

The latest labour-market survey found that the natural-resources sector lost 8,800 jobs in January amid the global oil slump. The number of jobs in professional, scientific and technical services increased by 22,400 positions.

Statistics Canada said reported Friday that the country’s labour-force participation rate of 65.7 per cent last month was unchanged from December, but hovered around its lowest level since July 2000 when it hit 65.6 per cent.

By region, the provinces of Quebec, Alberta, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island all had net increases, while Saskatchewan shed 8,400 jobs last month and saw its unemployment rate climb to 4.5 per cent from 3.7.

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