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B.C. loses 20K full-time jobs in January

Sharp decline in full-time work partially offset by surge in part-time employment
Between full-time losses and part-time gains, B.C. lost a total of 2,600 jobs to kick off the year, according to Statistics Canada.

Employment in B.C. is off to a rough start this year.

The province lost 19,600 full-time jobs in January – a figure somewhat offset only by the addition 17,000 part-time gigs, according to data released Friday by Statistics Canada.

Despite the total loss of 2,600 jobs, unemployment dropped by 0.1 percentage points to 5.4 per cent as people left the workforce altogether.

Notable losses were seen in wholesale/retail (-8,500 jobs) and information/culture/recreation (-6,600 jobs), the latter of which is associated with the province’s film and TV sector. Strikes in Hollywood kept much of B.C.’s film sector quiet in 2023.

The after-effects of dual Hollywood strikes are still being felt and local activity is “off to a slow start,” Gemma Martini, founder and CEO of Martini Film Studios told BIV earlier this year

Meantime, notable gains were felt in business/building/other support services (+9,000 jobs).

Canada as a whole added 37,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate fell 0.1 percentage point to 5.7 per cent.

“Perhaps the key takeaway from this mixed report is that there are no obvious signs of stress for the economy, at least in these results,” BMO chief economist Douglas Porter said in a note, referring to the national data. “Hardly the stuff of an urgent call for rate cuts. The Bank of Canada is likely to view this report as further reason for a patient policy stance.”

Andrew Grantham, CIBC's executive director of economics, echoed those sentiments.

“Today's data confirm that the Bank won't be in a rush to cut interest rates, and we maintain our expectation for a first move in June,” he said in a note.

–With a file from Claire Wilson

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