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B.C. economy under the microscope after shedding 8,400 jobs in September

The latest employment numbers from Stats Canada show B.C. is losing jobs, with certain sectors being hit the hardest. Sarah MacDonald has the details.

British Columbia’s economy is under the microscope amid new statistics that show the province shed 8,400 jobs in September.

The data, released by Statistics Canada on Friday, showed that the losses came as Canada added 54,000 jobs nationally.

The bulk of B.C.’s losses — 5,400 — came from the service sector.

READ MORE: Canada sees jobs surge in August with 81K new positions

It’s the fourth consecutive month the province has seen a net jobs loss, though the unemployment rate actually dipped 0.2 points to 5.5 per cent.

B.C. job losses and additions by sector.
B.C. job losses and additions by sector. Statistics Canada

The opposition BC Liberals were quick to jump on the numbers, accusing the governing NDP of “killing the B.C. economy.”

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“John Horgan and the NDP promised to make life more affordable for British Columbians. Instead, they introduced 19 new or increased taxes, killed competitiveness, and are now putting tens of thousands of people out of work with no plan to create jobs or grow the economy,” Liberal jobs critic Jordan Sturdy said in a media release.

“Over 16 years the BC Liberals built the top provincial economy in the country and the NDP have managed to ruin it in just two years.”

READ MORE: Canada loses over 24,000 jobs in July, but wage growth reaches highest level since 2009

NDP Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston tried to put a rosier spin on the data, arguing that B.C. has added 33,400 jobs since the beginning of the year.

“Some industries that are performing well in particular are agriculture, business, buildings and other supports, and educational services,” Ralston said in a media release.

READ MORE: Here’s a province-by-province breakdown of Canada’s record-low unemployment rates

“Average hourly wages are at $28.10 an hour, increasing by 5.1% since September 2018, and the unemployment rate is 4.8%.”

Drilling down into the numbers, jobs in the information, culture and recreation services fared particularly poorly in September, with about 15,000 jobs lost.

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Transportation and warehousing added about 6,000, and the finance and hospitality sectors added about 3,100 each.

In production, natural resources jobs dipped by about 2,100 jobs and construction shed about 1,400, while the manufacturing sector added just under 2,000 jobs.