Unemployment Improves, Still Highest In The West

Abbotsford’s unemployment rate eased in September (from 8.1 to 7.9) but the city retained its position at the top of the unemployment rates for Western Canada followed by Kelowna.

Statistics Canada reported this week that the national unemployment rate dropped slightly to 6.9 per cent in September from 7.1 per cent in August. The seasonally adjusted, three-month moving average unemployment rates for major cities in Western Canada reveal Abbotsford still has the highest unemployment west of Ontario – an honour it now shares with Vancouver which saw it rate climb in September from 6.8 to 7.1.

The main area in which unemployment figures dropped was in youth employment a fact which occurs every September when young people go back to school and which never ceases to astonish the talking heads in the television media.

Of more concern to economists is the ‘drooping’ participation rate.

According to the CBC, “Analysts generally see a dip in the unemployment rate below seven per cent as significant because it indicates the rate is approaching what is considered the country’s “natural” unemployment rate, but Porter said the shrinking labour force and lucklustre wage gains might put a different spin on that interpretation.

“The drooping participation rate may force a rethink on what constitutes Canada’s natural rate of unemployment,” he wrote. “The rule of thumb used to be 6.5 per cent, but it’s now likely lower than that — we’re already at 6.9 per cent with no sign of wage pressures.”

Communities like Abbotsford and Mission with high unemployment may face added pressures if the economy continues to struggle – Canadian businesses ramp down hiring and investment intentions as economy struggles: BoC

— Winnipeg 6.5 (5.9)

— Regina 3.7 (2.9)

— Saskatoon 4.8 (4.3)

— Calgary 4.9 (5.0)

— Edmonton 5.3 (5.2)

— Kelowna, B.C. 6.2 (7.2)

— Abbotsford, B.C. 7.1 (7.9)

— Vancouver 7.1 (6.8)

— Victoria 5.3 (5.7)

In all of Canada the only cities with higher unemployment are in Ontario’s rust belt, rural Quebec and St John New Brunswick:

— London, Ont. 8.6 (8.3)

— Windsor, Ont. 9.6 (8.9)

— St. Catharines-Niagara, Ont. 8.6 (8.6)

— Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Ont. 7.4 (8.0)

— Trois-Rivieres, Que. 8.9 (9.6)

— Saint John, N.B. 9.8 (10.5)

— Saguenay, Que. 7.4 (8.2)

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