Business

Employment soared last month

  - File
— image credit: File

Job growth is soaring, and BC is one of three province's leading the national pack.

With December's job gains of 39,800 piling onto the stunning 59,300 increase from the previous month, Canada's employment is defying expectations, according to BMO Economics.

Based on the December results and the ongoing trends, Deputy Chief Economist projected the following for the coming year:

•  Overall, Canadian employment will continue with its growth, albeit at a slightly slower rate than 2012

•  Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC will lead growth

•  Ontario will do better than last year, supported by a pick up in the US economy

• Manufacturing - particularly the auto sector - will do better, along

with resources and other service providers

"The Canadian labour market finished 2012 in fine fashion, posting solid job gains in four of the last five months and driving the jobless rate to its lowest ebb in four years," said Douglas Porter, Deputy Chief Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "The steady job gains hint that there is a bit more underlying vigour in the economy than many other reports would suggest, especially in Ontario - which is likely benefitting from the gradual U.S. turnaround."

Porter noted that, for the Bank of Canada, the drop in the jobless rate to a cycle low of 7.1 per cent will raise a few eyebrows.

"That said, wages are restrained and with inflation around 1 per cent, the Bank of Canada can remain quite patient. We still expect no rate changes in 2013."

Regionally, fully 7 of the 10 provinces reported job gains, with Ontario again leading the way with a rise of 32,900 jobs. Saskatchewan and Manitoba both also had solid gains - even stronger than Ontario in percentage terms - while Alberta, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick posted declines.

A variety of industries saw strength in the month, with strong increases for transportation & warehousing, construction, health care, trade and manufacturing. "After leading the charge in the prior month - probably thanks to the Grey Cup festivities in Toronto - the hotel & restaurant sector was flat, but that was also better than the expected reversal," noted Mr. Porter.

According to the BMO Hiring Outlook Report, for business owners planning to invest more in 2013, hiring employees is a top priority - second only to upgrading and purchasing equipment.

"Over the past year an increasing number of Canadian companies have made strategic investments to upgrade technology and processes, open up new markets, and invest in people," said Steve Murphy, Senior Vice President, BMO Commercial Banking. "As the economy recovers, businesses are looking to become as productive as possible, and that may mean taking advantage of historically low interest rates to finance their growth plans and upgrade their talent pool.

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $525 billion as at October 31, 2012, and more than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

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