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P.E.I. bucks national trend with modest job growth in August

A worker grinds a piece of metal in a factory in Quebec City, Tuesday, February 28, 2012. Statistics Canada says the economy jobs in August. The unemployment rate was compared with 5.8 per cent in July.
A worker grinds a piece of metal in a factory in Quebec City, Tuesday, February 28, 2012. Statistics Canada says the economy jobs in August. The unemployment rate was compared with 5.8 per cent in July. - The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - P.E.I. saw a modest decrease in its unemployment rate last month, bucking a national trend.

The Island’s jobless rate fell to 9.3 per cent in August, down from 9.5 per cent the previous month, according to Statistics Canada.

Despite the gain in jobs, the province’s unemployment rate remains the second-highest in the country to only Newfoundland and Labrador’s at 14.4 per cent.

British Columbia’s 5.3 per cent rate in August was the lowest in the country, though that rate was up from five per cent in July.

Across Canada, the economy shed 51,600 last month, driving the jobless rate up to six per cent and effectively wiping out a big gain in July that saw an increase of 54,100 positions.

Economists had expected an increase of 5,000 jobs for August and the unemployment rate to be 5.9 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

Here's a quick glance at unemployment rates for August, by province (numbers from the previous month in brackets):

  • Newfoundland and Labrador 14.4 per cent (15.4)
  • Prince Edward Island 9.3 (9.5)
  • Nova Scotia 8.4 (8.0)
  • New Brunswick 8.3 (7.5)
  • Quebec 5.6 (5.6)
  • Ontario 5.7 (5.4)
  • Manitoba 5.8 (6.0)
  • Saskatchewan 6.7 (6.6)
  • Alberta 6.7 (6.7)
  • British Columbia 5.3 (5.0)

The drop last month was fuelled by a loss of 92,000 part-time positions. On the positive side, however, the number of full-time jobs in August rose by 40,400.

Ontario experienced the biggest decrease of the provinces by far with a loss of 80,100 jobs - almost all of which were part time. The reading represented a drop of 1.1 per cent for the province and pushed its unemployment rate up to 5.7 per cent, from 5.4 per cent.

Alberta gained 16,200 jobs last month, 11,000 of which were full time, for an overall increase of 0.7 per cent.

Compared with 12 months earlier, Canada's overall employment was up 0.9 per cent following the addition of 171,700 jobs, including 326,100 full-time positions.

For employee work, the economy lost 38,000 public-sector jobs last month, while the private sector shed 30,700 positions.

Average hourly wage growth, which is closely watched by the Bank of Canada, continued its gradual slide last month to 2.9 per cent after expanding 3.2 per cent in July and 3.6 per cent in June.

By industry, the goods-producing sector lost 30,400 jobs last month in a decline led by notable losses of 16,400 positions in construction and a drop of 9,200 in manufacturing.

The services sector shed 21,200 jobs in August after shedding 22,100 positions in professional, scientific and technical services.

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