Unemployment Rate Is Up Province-Wide, Down In Moncton And Saint John

Moncton City Hall. Image: Inda Intiar/Huddle

The unemployment rates fell in Saint John and Moncton but rose province-wide, according to the latest Statistics Canada labour force survey released Friday.

The province’s unemployment rate increased from 7.2 per cent in October to 7.9 per cent in November. New Brunswick added 2,300 full-time jobs in October, but the labour force grew by 4,600, from 380,400 to 385,000.

Moncton’s unemployment rate dropped from 5.8 per cent in October to 5.2 per cent in November. The city region added 1,000 jobs and saw its labour force grow from 85,200 to 85,900.

Saint John’s unemployment rate fell from 6 per cent to 5.7 per cent. The city region added 1,400 jobs and saw its labour force grow from 68,400 to 69,700.

At a national level, the unemployment rate is down to its lowest level since Statistics Canada started measuring comparable data more than 40 years ago.

The jobless rate fell to 5.6 per cent last month from October’s reading of 5.8 per cent, which had been the previous low mark since comparable data first became available in 1976. The old statistical approach – prior to 1976 – registered an unemployment rate reading of 5.4 per cent in 1974.

Canada added 94,100 net jobs for its largest monthly increase since March 2012 when there was a gain of 94,000 jobs. The November surge was fuelled by other positives: 89,900 new full-time positions and 78,600 jobs in the private sector.

The nationwide improvements, however, obscured a key piece of data: weakening wage growth. Year-over-year average hourly wage growth for permanent employees continued its decline in November to 1.46 per cent – its lowest reading since July 2017.

“There’s no question that the headline job growth is gangbusters strong,” said Frances Donald, head of macroeconomic strategy at Manulife Asset Management.

“I would caution us against celebrating too quickly, however, because wage growth is decelerating sharply.”

With files from The Canadian Press.