7,500 jobs lost in May, unemployment rate holds steady at 5.8%

Daniel Fowler
June 10, 2018

The Canadian economy unexpectedly shed jobs in May as hiring declined in the manufacturing and construction sectors, though wages grew at their strongest annual pace in almost six years, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday.

May had a weaker than expected labour market, according to the latest numbers released Friday from Statistics Canada.

"While the province still maintains the lowest jobless rate in Canada (4.8 per cent), employment growth has quickly fallen from the top of the leaderboard to just +0.1 per cent [year over year]", BMO senior economist Robert Kavcic said in a note to investors.

Kavcic said that combined with other recent economic data including a strong trade report this week, the Bank of Montreal is maintaining its forecast for the Bank of Canada to raise its key interest rate in July. British Columbia has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, while Quebec, at 5.3 per cent, and Ontario, at 5.7 per cent, had the second- and third-best unemployment rates.

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Among the major centres in B.C., Vancouver's unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 per cent, Abbotsford climbed two points to 4.6 per cent, and Kelowna hit 5.0 per cent unemployment compared to 4.8 per cent in April.

The province was one of five that saw a small drop in unemployment, despite the national economy losing 7,500 jobs in May as a drop in full-time employment was only partially offset by an increase in part-time jobs. The professional, scientific and technical services sector added 17,000 and transportation and warehousing added 12,000.

Nationally, Canada lost 7,500 jobs in May due to a drop in full-time employment.

Regionally, Prince Edward Island added 800 jobs for the month, while employment in B.C. fell by 12,000 for the month. That was offset in part by a gain of 23,600 part-time jobs. Thomas unemployment rate in May. The size of the city's labour force is also down to 22,300 from 22,500 in May 2017.

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