-129,000 jobs

StatsCanada is reporting the largest one month decline in jobs since the methodology for their labour force survey was changed in 1976.

There is not much to comment on as the chart tells you all you need to know about the January job picture.

The local picture is much brighter however as the unemployment rate for Victoria nudged up only slightly to 4%. In this economy any unemployment rate below 5% has to be considered very good.

The big picture

As bad as the economic news has been lately it pays to remember that there are other forces at play that will have even a larger impact on the labour market.

Economic fortunes can swing up and down but Canada’s demographic picture is set in stone (more or less). In short order many British Columbians will be in a position of wanting to retire. An article in the Vancouver Sun can provide you with some of the statitical details.

By 2015, 30 per cent of B.C.’s population will be over the age of 55.

Demographics and baby boom retirees guarantee that when the economic clouds eventually clear, we’ll still be facing unprecedented labour shortages that threaten the province’s growth and prosperity.

Even if the current downturn were to bring all new job growth in B.C. to a screeching halt between now and 2015, we would still be critically short of workers.

Also just to provide a little more perspective, Victoria continues to have the lowest unemplomyent rate in the country.

Victoria insulated ?

Victoria may not be insulated from the effect of a cold Canadian winter but according to this article, fallout from global economic woes is not being fully felt in the Capital Region. The reason ? A well diversified economy is said to be sheltering Victoria from feeling the worst effect of the financial slowdown.

The momentum in Victoria is starting to slow down, but the level of activity in Victoria is still relatively OK,” said Benjamin Tal, senior economist at CIBC World Markets. “It says to me that Victoria has been able to maintain its position for a while now without losing big momentum, and that reflects clearly it has a fairly diversified economy and is not a slave to the value of the dollar or oil prices.”

Now if we could just do something about the cold and snow we’ll be all set !

Over 1 million employed in skilled trades

StatsCanada has released a report that looks at employment trends in the skilled trades. The report notes that emplomyent in this field continues it’s steady rise and that most of the jobs are held by men (97%) and are full-time (also 97%).

On average earnings for this group are high when compared to other occupations. Employees in the trades averaged $22.36 in hourly earnings, 6% higher than the $21.02 for other occupations. The highest earners were electricians ($25.26), crane operators ($24.61) and plumbers ($24.10).

StatsCanada also points out that immigrants tend to be under-represented in this employment group. Only 17% of workers in the trades were immigrants, compered to 21% in the non-trades occupations.One reason offered for this is the fact that recent immigrants to Canada tend to have University degrees. Since the educational requirements of jobs in trades are below university level, one might expect fewer immigrants to be working in these jobs.

Small Business Month

October is small business month in BC. Here are some facts that may surprise you.

  • There 379,700 small businesses operating in British Columbia (representing 98 % of all businesses)
  • Over one million people are employed in the province by small businesses
  • Fifty-seven per cent of B.C.’s private sector jobs are with small businesses – the highest rate in Canada

BC’s High Technology sector

BC Stats has just released a profile of this province’s technology sector. Those interested may want to check out the 92 page pdf document for the whole profile but some of the highlights are excerpted below:
High tech comprises about 5.9% of British Columbia’s GDP

  • High tech employment in the province climbed 4.8% in 2007 to 81,140
  • Those people working in high technology jobs are paid far more than the average employee in the province. High tech workersearned an average of $1,100 per week, compared to an overall average of only $760 for employees in all industries
  • BC’s high technology sector continued to experience employment growth, adding 3,700 net new jobs in 2007, an increase of 4.8% from 2006


Victoria leads the way

A blog post from Reed Construction Data points out that Victoria is leading the country both in terms of both the highest job growth (+4.7%) and the lowest unemployment rate (only 3.2%).