New figures from Statistics Canada show a rise in the regional unemployment rate.
Unemployment in the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) reached four per cent in June 2019 — up from 3.6 per cent in May 2019. While it is not clear what caused the increase, one clue might be the higher participation rate of the regional work force. It rose to 63.2 per cent from 62.5. By way of background, the participation rate measures the share of employed and unemployed people as a percentage of the population. This figure suggests that Victoria’s hot labour market has encouraged more people to enter the workforce with the consequence for the unemployment rate, which economists calculate by dividing the number of unemployed people by the number of people in the labour force.
In other words, the regional unemployment might have risen, because more people were looking for work.
This rise, however, requires perspective. Victoria’s regional unemployment remains the lowest among B.C.’s four CMAs. It ties with Vancouver’s rate and remains ahead of Kelowna (4.4 per cent) and Abbotsford-Mission (5.4) per cent.
By way of background, the provincial unemployment rate is 4.5 per cent.
Nationally, the unemployment rate rose 0.1 per cent to 5.5 per cent as the number of people looking for work increased, according to Statistics Canada, with the Quebec City recording the lowest unemployment rate among Canada’s CMA with 2.4 per cent.
Looking at specific groups, unemployment among people aged 55 has edged down, while unemployment among people in the “core” working ages of 25 to 54 has edged up year-to-year. This increase in unemployment has been especially evident among men in that age, as their unemployment stands at 5.1 per cent, up 0.4 per cent.