Canadian employment rose by 0.3 per cent to 20.17 million in June. The Canadian unemployment rate rose to 5.4 per cent after rising to 5.2 per cent in May. Total hours worked were up 2 per cent year over year, while average hourly wages were up 4.2 per cent from June of last year.

Employment in BC was little changed in June, falling 0.1 per cent to 2.778 million, while falling by 0.3 per cent in Metro Vancouver to 1.570 million. The unemployment rate jumped to 5.6 per cent in BC, up from 5 per cent in May, while rising to 5.7 per cent in Metro Vancouver. 


Canadian prices, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), rose 2.8 per cent on a year-over-year basis in June, down from 3.4 per cent in May. While declines occurred in several categories, the largest contribution was from lower gasoline prices compared to the same month last year (-21.6 per cent). Ignoring gasoline, year-over-year inflation would have been 4 per cent in June. Shelter costs were up 4.8 per cent year over year, driven by much higher mortgage interest costs (up 30.1 per cent from last year) along with higher rents (up 5.8 per cent from June 2022). The homeowner's replacement cost, which tracks home prices, was down 0.7 per cent year over year. Grocery prices were up 9.1 per cent year over year. Month over month, CPI rose 0.1 per cent. In BC, consumer prices rose 3.5 per cent year-over-year.

The CPI continued to cool in June, with year-over-year prices rising at the slowest rate since March 2021, and now within the Bank of Canada's target of 1 to 3 per cent. Much lower gasoline prices compared to the same time last year are doing much of this work, but recovering supply chains also contributed, with furniture and household appliances both on average cheaper than the same time last year. The Bank of Canada's measures of core inflation, which strip out volatile components, are trending downwards and are now mostly below 4 per cent year-over-year. CPI is being pulled down by energy costs, household operations and furnishings, and clothing costs. In the other direction, food, shelter, and mortgage costs are dragging the CPI upwards. Taken together, that this month's headline inflation figure is within the Bank's 1 to 3 per cent target is excellent news and provides support for the Bank to ease off rate tightening going forward. 


Canadian housing starts rose 41 per cent to 281,373 units in June at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR). Starts were up 4 per cent from the same month last year. Single-detached housing starts rose 1 per cent to 55,552 units, while multi-family and others rose 55 per cent to 225,817 (SAAR). 

In British Columbia, starts rose by 61 per cent in June to 65,904 units SAAR in all areas of the province. In areas in the province with 10,000 or more residents, single-detached starts rose 2 per cent m/m to 6,402 units while multi-family starts rose 76 per cent to 57,241 units. Starts in the province were 17 per cent above the levels from June 2022. Month over month, starts were up by 19k in Vancouver, 4.3k in Victoria, and 2.6k in Kelowna, while declining by 1.3k in Abbotsford. The 6-month moving average trend rose 2.7 per cent to 51.4k in BC. 


Canadian retail sales increased 0.2 per cent in May to $66 billion, led by sales of motor vehicles and parts as well as food and beverage. However, excluding volatile items like car sales, retail sales were essentially unchanged month-over-month. In BC, retail sales jumped 2.7 per cent, rising for a third consecutive month and were up 1.9 per compared to 1-year ago. 

Although BC retail spending has ticked higher in recent months, overall Canadian retail sales were up just 0.5 per cent compared to this time last year and preliminary estimates for June show flat sales. This could signal that consumer spending is finally slowing down following a year of aggressive tightening by the Bank of Canada. 

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