N.B. Adds 2,300 Jobs In August, But Unemployment Rate Rose Slightly

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There were 2,300 more people working in New Brunswick in August, partly offsetting a drop in July, according to Statistics Canada’s latest labour force survey.

The employment numbers showed little change from the same period last year, according to Statistics Canada. But the province’s labour force increased by 5,500 compared to a year ago, and by 1,400 since July.

The province’s unemployment rate was 8.6 per cent last month, up from 8.5 per cent the month before. The data shows 4,700 more full-time jobs, while the number of part-time jobs fell by 2,400.

Economist David Campbell says in an e-mail to Huddle that rather than the month-to-month comparisons, analyzing data from August of last year “is a better measure of how things are changing.”

“The good news is that the number of 15-24 year-olds in the workforce rose in the past year. The longer term trajectory is downward (in August 2008 there were 63,300 aged 15-24 in the New Brunswick workforce and now there are 55,400) but the trend in the last year is encouraging,” he said.

In the province’s two census metropolitan areas (CMA), there was a slight decline in employment with 200 fewer jobs in Moncton and 100 fewer jobs in Saint John. But compared to the same period last year, Moncton and Saint John added 2,600 and 2,900 jobs, respectively.

Moncton’s unemployment rate fell to 5.4 per cent last month, from 5.7 per cent in July. Saint John’s unemployment rate increased to from 6.8 per cent to 7.2 per cent last month.

Saint John saw its labour force grow 0.2 per cent and Moncton’s labour force dropped 0.5 per cent from July to August. But in a period of one year, Moncton and Saint John saw an expansion of their labour force, by 1.9 per cent an 6.4 per cent, respectively.

“It’s nice to see Saint John’s labour force growing again, in August 2019 it was the largest it’s been since August 2012,” he noted. “Moncton is setting new highs. On a seasonally adjusted basis there were 86,600 in the workforce in August 2019 compared to 85,000 last year and 81,000 in August 2017.  Since the launch of the last Greater Moncton immigration strategy back in 2014, the CMA workforce has expanded by nearly 10 percent. There is a direct correlation between the increase in immigrants to Greater Moncton and the growth of the labour force.”

New Brunswick was one of five provinces in the country to see gains in employment, which remained steady in other provinces. Most of the employment increase last month was in Ontario and Quebec.

Meanwhile, British Columbia and Nova Scotia both saw their unemployment rates increase to 5 per cent and 7.9 per cent, respectively, as more people searched for work in each province.

In Canada overall, employment went up by 81,000 after three months of little change, though the boost was largely in part-time jobs.  The unemployment rate stayed at 5.7% as more people took part in the labour market.

Compared to a year ago, employment in Canada rose 2.5 per cent by 471,000. That’s due to a 2 per cent gain in full-time work (+306,000) and a 4.8 per cent increase in part-time jobs (+165,000). Over the same period, hours worked increased 1.2 per cent.

More people are working in the private sector in August, more than offsetting a drop in July. The number increase for those who work in finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing; educational services; and in professional, scientific and technical services.

On the other hand, employment numbers fell in business, building and other support services.

More people aged 15 to 24, and those older than 55, also worked in August.