Unemployment drops in Victoria, climbs in BC, Stats Canada

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Over 1,100 net jobs were lost in Canada during the month of April according to the latest numbers from Statistics Canada.

Elsewhere, the federal government added 1,900 jobs in Ottawa-Gatineau while the region's tech sector shed 1,400 jobs.

Canada recorded its strongest wage growth in six years in April, giving the Bank of Canada more evidence that the country's job market is robust.

While most economists expect the central bank to hold fire on May 30, markets are putting almost 40 percent odds on an increase this month, making for a sizable minority view.

The indicator, which is closely monitored by the Bank of Canada ahead of its interest-rate decisions, has been creeping upwards.

Victoria's rate had climbed from December to March after hitting a low of 3.3 per cent in November. The question, however, is around the timing of the next increase.

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The trend poses a major challenge to the Bank of Canada, since how quickly the economy expands without triggering wage gains and inflation is a key question for policy makers. Many analysts predict governor Stephen Poloz will wait until the bank's July meeting before raising the rate, which would be his fourth since last July.

Still, economists said the details of the report were encouraging, with full-time jobs rising and an acceleration in wage growth supporting expectations of another rate increase in July.

"On the wage side, I think there's less and less reason to think that there's much slack left in labour markets", Janzen said in an interview.

The provinces of Ontario and Alberta have both raised their minimum wages recently. Numbers released Friday show the average hourly wage last month was 3.6 per cent higher than it was one year ago. The highest unemployment rate in B.C last month was recorded on the North Coast, where 8.1 percent of the labour force lacked a job.

The Lethbridge-Medicine Hat region now has a lower rate than the Edmonton (6.8 per cent, unchanged) and Calgary (decreased to 7.5 per cent) regions. It was 6.1%, up from 5.6% in March. The economy created 28,800 full-time positions and eliminated 30,000 part-time positions.

In Regina, the unemployment rate ticked up from 5 to 5.7 per cent. Saskatoon saw a minor increase from 6.5 to 6.7 per cent.

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