Canadian employment declined by 20,000 jobs in April while the national unemployment rate remained at 6.8 per cent. Total hours worked, which is strongly correlated with economic growth, increased 0.9 per cent compared to April 2014. At the provincial level, employment fell in BC, Ontario and Nova Scotia and rose in Alberta and Newfoundland.
In BC, employment declined by a dramatic 28,700 jobs in April with full-time employment suffering a loss of 17,500 while part-time employment was down 11,300. The provincial unemployment rate rose 0.5 points to 6.3 per cent. April's job losses were the worst on record dating back to 1976 and topping the previous record of 23,700 jobs lost in June 2001. Given that other measures of provincial employment and consumer demand remain quite strong, we would view this report as an anomaly that will likely correct in coming months.
Employment in the US recovered from weak job creation in March, rising by 223,000 in April while the unemployment rate declined to 5.4 per cent. The average monthly rate of job growth in the US over the past three months stands at a healthy 191,000.