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B.C. adds 26K jobs in September as demand for construction workers booms

Unemployment rose to 5.4 per cent last month: StatCan
B.C.'s construction industry added 12,600 jobs in September, according to Statistics Canada.

Demand for labour is showing little signs of abating in B.C.

The province added 25,700 jobs to the economy in September for the second consecutive month of job growth, according to Statistics Canada data released Friday (Oct. 6).

Demand was highest in B.C.'s construction industry (+12,600 jobs). Food services and accommodation took (-6,700 jobs) took the biggest hit.

Meantime, the province's unemployment rate expanded by 0.2 percentage points to reach 5.4 per cent as more people entered the labour force looking for work.

Employment across Canada rose by 64,000 jobs while the unemployment rate remained static at 5.5 per cent.

The Bank of Canada paused interest rate hikes last month, leaving its key rate untouched at five per cent amid signs the economy is cooling.

The country has since added more than 100,000 jobs to the economy.

“There is little debate that the gaudy headline job growth overstates the strength of the labour market, juiced by a seasonal spike in education jobs and by surging part-time employment,” BMO chief economist Douglas Porter said in a note, referring to the national numbers.

“We don't believe this is enough to tip the scales for the Bank of Canada, but it will keep their tightening bias firmly in place.”

TD senior economist James Orlando also cautioned against getting too excited by the latest national numbers.

“Almost all the gains were in the historically volatile education sector. And when looking at cyclically driven private sector firms, hiring only increased by [1,000 jobs] this month,” he said in a note.

“Furthermore, most of the job gains were in part-time employment, causing the number of hours worked to decline. These details should throw some cold water on a seemingly hot jobs report.”

But he said the latest jobs report still muddies the outlook for the Bank of Canada ahead of its next interest rate announcement Oct. 25.

CIBC senior economist Andrew Grantham said in a note he anticipates the Bank of Canada will hold off any moves to its key rate at the end of the month.

"Falling job vacancies and a stall in economic activity [is] evidence that the economy is now responding to prior rate increases," he said.