Canada gained a higher-than-expected 35,200 net jobs in December, entirely in full-time positions, while the unemployment rate fell to 5.6%, official data showed on Friday, figures that could ease some concerns about the strength of the Canadian economy.
Friday's jobs report by Statistics Canada also showed other positive signs for the local economy, including the continuous rise of the region's labour force - the total number of people either working or looking for jobs.
Employment in health care increased by 28,000 in December, and construction employment rose by 20,000.
Over the course of the 2010s, the economy added close to 2 million jobs. In addition to uncertainty stemming from trade, geopolitics and a presidential election, a shrinking pool of available workers makes it tougher for employers to find qualified applicants for more than 7 million open jobs. That's unchanged from what it was in November, but up six-tenths of a percentage point since December 2018, when 4.3 per cent of B.C.'s labour force was considered unemployed.
Average hourly earnings, month on month: +0.1%vs.
Citing data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Boykins also tweeted the number of jobs added annually since 2013, with the calendar year of 2019 being tied for the lowest in that time span. Employment rose in professional and business services, with 10,000 added payrolls.
The prospect of a stable job market, a pick-up in global growth, supportive central banks, an easing of trade tensions and USA economic growth of around 2% should be a positive for this year. The nonfarm payrolls report was revised by 10,000 fewer payrolls added (to 256,000) and private sector payrolls were revised down by 11,000 (to 243,000) in November.
"In 2019, employment in British Columbia was little changed in the 12 months to December 2019, following four consecutive years of gains", Statistics Canada reported.
One bright spot was the U-6, or underemployment rate, which fell to 6.7%, a record low in data back to 1994.
Still, the report suggests a lingering weakness in manufacturing. "It is important to remember that periods of stronger wage growth for production/nonsupervisory workers in this recovery tend to be followed by periods of relatively weaker growth". The three-month moving average for non-farm payrolls in December was 184,000 down from 200,000 in November and 188,000 in October.
The region saw a wide swing in monthly unemployment throughout 2019 - from a high of 9% in April to a low of 4.9% in July.
December has not been the best month for payrolls over the last decade.