05/10/2013 04:02 EDT | Updated 07/10/2013 05:12 EDT

B.C. Unemployment Rate Drops To 6.4%

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MIAMI - NOVEMBER 20: Christian Castro (2nd-R) and Nicole Ocana (3rd-R) stand in line with others looking for jobs at the employment help center Workforce One November 20, 2008 in Miami, Florida. The Labor Department said today that new claims for unemployment benefits jumped last week to a 16-year high while the White House announced that President George W. Bush would sign legislation pending in Congress to provide further unemployment benefits. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
B.C. saw a surge in new full-time jobs in April, and its unemployment rate is now well below the national average, which sits at 7.2 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.

In B.C., the unemployment rate grew to seven per cent in March from 6.3 per cent in February, and has now settled back to 6.4 per cent for April.

The gains were the result of a strong month in the public sector.

Overall, B.C. gained 9,500 jobs in April, and Statistics Canada says the gains were due to a big surge in the public sector, where almost 20,000 jobs were added.

Statistics Canada does not break down which public sector organization did the most hiring, and only groups the jobs in broad categories.

Gains partially offset by private sector

B.C. actually lost 10,800 private sector jobs in April, bringing the total number of jobs lost in that sector to more than 45,000 since the B.C. government announced its jobs plan in September, 2011.

At the time, Premier Christy Clark highlighted the importance of a thriving private sector.

- Reality Check | B.C.'s jobs plan

The country as a whole had unexpectedly lost 54,500 jobs in March, making it the worst month for Canadian employment since before the last recession, in February 2009.

Despite the recent month-to-month swings, B.C.'s employment figures are virtually the same as they were a year ago.

Statistics Canada says the better B.C. unemployment figures last month were made up of more full-time jobs, and slightly fewer part-time jobs. Unemployment also fell in Alberta, from 4.8 per cent in March to 4.4 per cent in April.

While the unemployment rate in Vancouver stayed the same at 6.8 per cent, it dropped slightly in Victoria, from 5.5 to 5.3 per cent; and jumped up from 6.5 to 7.1 per cent in Kelowna, and 7.0 to 7.7 per cent in Abbotsford.

Statistics Canada says the unemployment numbers released for the major cities are seasonally-adjusted, three-month moving average, and cautions the figures may fluctuate widely because they are based on small statistical samples.

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