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B.C. adds 23K jobs in April as film sector comes roaring back to life

Film and TV sector adds 23,400 jobs in April, unemployment falls to 5%
B.C.'s film and TV sector added more than 23,000 jobs to the economy in April, according to Statistics Canada.

April delivered shot in the arm to B.C.’s film and TV sector after strikes in Hollywood left the industry on life support much of last fall.

The province added 23,400 jobs to the economy last month, with the entertainment sector leading the way, according to Statistics Canada data released Friday.

While there were notable losses in wholesale and retail trade (-8,500 jobs) and manufacturing (-5,600 jobs), those declines were mitigated by significant additions in StatCan’s information, culture and recreation category, which is associated with the film and TV sector.

Overall, the gains in film and TV perfectly mirrored gains across the province (23,400 jobs). Professional, scientific and technical services also saw major additions in April (+5,900 jobs).

Unemployment on the West Coast dropped 0.5 percentage points to five per cent, compared with 6.1 per cent nationally (no change from a month earlier).

Canada as a whole added 90,000 jobs in April. Only Ontario outperformed B.C., adding 25,000 jobs to its own economy.

BMO chief economist Douglas Porter said national gains like this would typically give cause to rethink the view of the broader economy.

"But given the wild swings in the past four years and population growth of more than 100,000 per month, the big April advance merely prompts some mild doubts,” he said in a note.

“Today's showy headline jobs increase will give the Bank of Canada some pause, since it reinforces the point that the economy is clearly not rolling over.”

The central bank is set to announce its next interest rate decision next month.

Porter said markets now see it as a toss-up whether or not BoC governor Tiff Macklem cuts the overnight rate or leaves it be.

“Our call is for a rate trim, but that will require a seriously cool core [consumer price index] result,” he said.

Statistics Canada releases its next inflation numbers May 21.

“Following March's slight contraction, today's big jump was more than 4x the consensus expectation. Even for this notoriously volatile data, this was a shocker,” TD senior economist James Orland said in a note, referring to the national gains.

“Our own chief economist's immediate reaction was that ‘this is bananas!’ Bananas indeed.”

Orland said the report is likely to raise eyebrows at the Bank of Canada.

“With the labour market showing renewed strength, there is potential for consumer spending to rise in the coming months, forcing inflation higher,” he said.

“This will be a concern for the BoC, which has seen this narrative play out in the U.S. over 2024.”

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