Unemployment steady at 5.8% as wage growth reaches six-year high

By Glory Przekop with files from The Canadian Press

This is a key indicator monitored by the Bank of Canada ahead of its interest-rate decisions.

That left the national unemployment rate at 5.8 per cent.

Northeast B.C.'s unemployment rate was the third-highest of any region in B.C. The lowest rate of unemployment was recorded in the Lower Mainland where only 4.3 percent of the labour force was without work, while the next lowest rate on Vancouver Island was 5.2 percent.

"Canadian employment disappointed on the headline, but the details were fairly solid and shouldn't do much to change expectations regarding the Bank of Canada and future rate hikes", said Andrew Grantham, senior economist at CIBC Capital Markets, in a note.

Nationally, employment was unchanged in April and the unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 per cent. Stats Canada says the Canadian economy lost 1,100 jobs last month. It registered a year-over-year increase of 3.3 per cent in March and 3.1 per cent the month before.

Still, economists said the details of the report were encouraging, with full-time jobs rising and an acceleration in wage growth supporting expectations of another rate increase in July. The next scheduled rate announcement is May 30.

The provinces of Ontario and Alberta have both raised their minimum wages recently.

The most recent reading of wage common was 2.3 per cent for the fourth quarter of past year. It matches its lowest mark since the agency started measuring the indicator in 1976. And the number of people who were looking for work was 6,700 this April, a year ago was 5,900. The economy created 28,800 full-time positions and eliminated 30,000 part-time positions.

Goods-producing industries shed 15,900 positions, mostly in construction. In April 2018, the participation rate was 65.5 per cent, down from 66.8 12 months earlier.

The youth unemployment rate increased in April to 11.1% following a net gain of 17,700 new jobs.

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