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B.C. adds 18K jobs in December as end of Hollywood strikes revives film sector

Unemployment rate grows to 5.8% as more people enter workforce.
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Martini Film Studios has seen a decline in activity following this year's U.S. writers' and actors' strikes

B.C.’s labour market got into action last month following the end of the Hollywood actors and writers strikes.

The province added 17,700 jobs to the economy in December, according to Statistics Canada data released Friday.

The biggest gain came in the information, culture and recreation category (+13,200 jobs), which is associated with B.C.’s film and TV sector. After months of paralysis, this sector came back to life last month after Hollywood studios reached deals with striking actors and writers in the weeks prior.

The province also saw notable gains in health care (+12,300 jobs), while business and support services took a dip (-8,700 jobs).

Meantime, the province’s unemployment rate expanded by 0.3 percentage points to 5.6 per cent as more people entered the workforce.

The national unemployment rate remained static at 5.8 per cent as Canada added only 100 jobs.

CIBC senior economist Andrew Grantham described December’s national numbers as a “mixed bag.”

He said there was stronger-than-expected data in terms of wages and hours worked, but weaker-than-expected job growth.

"Because of that today's data don’t change our expectation for the timing of a first Bank of Canada interest rate cut, which we still see occurring in June this year," he said in a note.

BMO chief economist Douglas Porter said the national numbers suggest that the softening seen in the broader economy is catching up with the labour market.

“We continue to expect the Bank to be very patient on the rate cutting front,” he said in a note.

While the national figures indicate a slowing job market, December marks the second consecutive month in which B.C. tallied gains after adding 9,000 jobs in November.

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