The unemployment rate in Victoria Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) rose in June. But the local labour market nonetheless remains tight.
New figures from Statistics Canada show unemployment in Greater Victoria rose to 4.1 in June, up from four per cent in May. This figure means local unemployment is nearly one full per cent point lower than the national average of 4.9 per cent, itself a new record low. The previous low was 5.1 per cent recorded in May.
Regionally, Vancouver Island and the coast recorded an unemployment rate of four per cent, while the province recorded an unemployment rate of 4.8 per cent.
Compared to the other CMAs in British Columbia, Victoria recorded the second-lowest unemployment rate, behind Kelowna with four per cent, but ahead of Abbotsford-Mission with 4.5 per cent and Vancouver with five per cent.
Victoria CMA also recorded a decline in employment. Not only did Greater Victoria’s labour force shrink by 0.3 per cent, so did the number of people who were employed, dropping by 0.4 per cent.
This local decline points to a national phenomenon. More people are dropping out of the workforce with workers aged 55 and older making up the bulk, according to Statistics Canada. In other words, a growing number of people relatively close to retirement are leaving the workforce, likely compounding shortages. These losses were particularly significant in retail. Self-employment also declined.
Those remaining in the workforce are generally working more and increasingly from locations other than their regular place of employment. They are also earning more as hourly wages rose 5.2 per cent (up $1.54 to $31.24) on a year-over-year basis in June, up from 3.9 per cent in May and 3.3 per cent in April (not seasonally adjusted).
But these increases are below inflation rates. Consumer inflation rose 7.7 per cent year over year in May, the largest yearly increase since January 1983 and up from a 6.8 per cent gain in April.
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