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Bright Spots On the Horizon But BC Job Numbers Disappoint As Federal Election Nears

Utilities added 3,300 jobs in July showing continued investment in power line and infrastructure across the countryThis morning Statistics Canada released their monthly job numbers and the results are pretty disappointing for British Columbia with a jump in the unemployment rate to 6% up from 5.8%. The biggest loss was full time jobs with almost 15,000 jobs changing from full time to part time.
Alberta saw more full time jobs but a drop in part time employment, with their unemployment rate edging up to 6% for the first time in recent memory.
Saskatchewan and Manitoba both saw losses in full time employment and saw their unemployment rates rise. The bright spot was Quebec adding 21,000 jobs, dropping the unemployment rate under 7% and beating most of the Maritimes. Finally Ontario was a bit of a wash with less then 5,000 jobs shifting from full time to part time.
With the continued low prices of commodities, we saw only a small loss in Natural Resource jobs but a larger drop in Manufacturing and Construction jobs. Vancouver and Toronto likely bucked the trend on Construction job losses with a continued strong housing market keeping the demand for Carpenters, HVAC and related housing trades strong.
Manufacturing was likely hit by lower demand from Mining, Oil and Gas but was propped up by a lower Canadian dollar making imports more expensive and giving us lower pricing when exporting to the US.

Bright Spots

It was nice to see that Utilities did see a small uptake in employment with 3,300 jobs added which shows continued investment in things like power line infrastructure across the country.
One interesting change for July 2015 and to watch in August is the continued increase in self employment, with 41,000 people becoming entrepreneurs. This could mean that some people who have lost their jobs are re-inventing themselves or leaving their employers because they see better opportunities as a contractor or starting a business.
We expect August’s numbers to stay relatively flat with the Canadian election call and continued low prices in commodities. The weak Canadian dollar will continue to help Manufacturing and Natural Resources, while keeping Tourism booming as more foreign tourists visit and Canadians stay close to home.