B.C. Wins, Ontario And Alberta Lose In Brutal Month For Jobs

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After months of little movement, Canada's job market took a dive in July, shedding 31,000 jobs as the unemployment rate rose a notch to 6.9 per cent, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

There were almost no silver linings to be had in the latest survey. Full-time employment dropped by a whopping 71,000 positions, partly offset by an increase of 40,000 part-time jobs.

Much of the job loss was among younger workers. Employment for those aged 15 to 24 declined by 28,000 during the month. Over the past year, youth employment has declined by 2.4 per cent, but some of that is due to the fact that this is a shrinking demographic; there are one per cent fewer people in this age group this year than last.

Overall, Canada added 0.4 per cent net new jobs over the past year, less than half the amount needed to keep up with population growth.

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Ontario took the brunt of job losses in July, losing 36,000 in a month, the first significant decline in the province since last fall, StatsCan noted.

At the other end was British Columbia, which continued to lead the country in job growth, adding 12,000 positions. British Columbia has added 2.6 per cent net new jobs over the past year — an unusually strong performance.

Recession-riddled Alberta's job market continued to struggle in July, with the jobless rate rising 0.7 percentage points to 8.6 per cent — the highest jobless rate in that province since 1994. But much of that spike was due to more people looking for work in Alberta. The number of jobs in the province was "essentially unchanged" in July, StatsCan noted.

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The SkyTrain running through downtown Vancouver. British Columbia turned in the country's best job-market performance in July, according to StatsCan. (Photo: Hisham Ibrahim via Getty Images)

Broken down by industry, health care was the big winner, adding 65,000 jobs in July. Employment in that sector is up 2.8 per cent in a year. Accommodation and food service jobs, along with jobs in information, culture and recreation combined added more than 44,000 jobs, thanks to a tourism industry that's booming amid a low Canadian dollar.

But those gains were offset by deep losses in manufacturing and the resource sector. Resources lost 42,800 jobs in the month, with employment down 12 per cent in a year as the oil price slump continues. Manufacturing lost 18,800 jobs in the month and employment is down 1.1 per cent in the past year, suggesting that the long-expected turnaround of Canada's economy towards non-energy exports hasn't materialized.

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