March 21, 2024


LANGLEY Data For Business’ is an effort of the Langley Chamber, in partnership with the Canadian Chamber, to bring our members reports, stats and analysis on economic and business data to help inform business and investment decisions.

On the back of stronger-than-expected job numbers in January, Canadian employment increased by 41K in February (exceeding market expectations for a gain in 20k jobs).  That said, with surging population growth, the economy is not able to absorb the increase in people, and the unemployment rate rose 0.1 points to 5.8%.

In BC specifically, it was a slightly different picture.  The provincial economy added 6,000 net new jobs (+15,100 FT; -9,100 PT) and the unemployment rate ticked down from 5.4% to 5.2%.

Average hourly wages rose 5% on a year-over-year basis, following an increase of 5.3% in January. Recent wage data from the Survey on Employment, Payrolls, and Hours indicates a further dampening of wage pressures, now running under 3%.

Nationally, employment gains were spread across several services industries, led by accommodation and food services (+26K; +2.4%), professional services (+18K; +0.9%), other services (+11K; +1.4%), as well as construction (+11K; +0.7%).   Seeing declines were education (-17K; -1.1%), and wholesale and retail trade (-17K; -0.6%).

Andrew DiCapua, Senior Economist with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce: “Canada’s labour market is on track for decent job growth in the first quarter, but the headline number isn’t the whole story. With a declining employment rate, the economy is unable to absorb a fast-rising population into the workforce. The sectors that are growing in recent months have been as a result of labour actions or gaining back the workers who left the industry and who face acute shortages, like accommodation and food services. There were some good numbers as hours worked rose 0.3% on the month, which is a signal that the first quarter is maintaining momentum from the fourth quarter. A further normalization of wages, moderating to 5% growth in February, is also welcome news, trending in the right direction to ease core inflationary pressures.”

In BC specifically, compared with January, the information, culture and recreation sector led the way with job gains (+7,300 jobs) followed by the construction sector (+3,600 jobs) and the “business, building, and other support services” sector (3,300 jobs).   Agriculture, Wholesale and retail trade, and Accommodation/Food Services experienced the greatest job losses.

Cory Redekop is the CEO of the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce, Langley’s largest business association representing, connecting and supporting over 1,000 local member businesses. 

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