New figures show the regional unemployment rate remains among the lowest in Canada.
According to Statistics Canada, unemployment in Victoria Census Metropolitan Area dropped by 0.4 per cent to four per cent in May, below the respective figures for Vancouver Island (4.3 per cent), British Columbia (4.5 per cent) and Canada (5.1 per cent). This national figure represents a historic low for the third consecutive month in which this key labour market indicator has reached a new low. Only a handful of communities in Quebec and Ontario recorded lower than Victoria CMA with Trois-Rivieres and the Quebec side of Ottawa-Gatineau recording the lowest unemployment rate at 2.6 per cent.
Unemployment is even lower when looking only at the core working population, those aged 25 to 54. For Canada, it was 4.3 per cent in May, matching the all-time low recorded in April 2022.
The latest figures also shed some led light on the relationship between wages and inflation. Average hourly wages for all employees rose 3.9 per cent (+$1.18) on a year-over-year basis in May, up from 3.3 per cent in April, with faster increases for some groups and industries. When compared to inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), recent increases have been faster than the increase in average hourly wages.
Timing and the sector also play a role. Whereas employees hired between March 2019 to March 2022 saw wage gains greater than inflation, Statistics Canada has found that wages associated with vacant positions have been growing more slowly than CPI, suggesting limits in the ability of some employers to raise pay levels.
This said, newly hired workers as well job vacancies in the accommodation and food services industry are seeing wages that match inflation, pointing to pressures on employers to raise wages in response to labour shortages.
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