Stats Canada says unemployment dips below four per cent in Victoria

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The agency reported the dip as the unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 per cent for the fourth consecutive month. The unemployment rate remained steady because the labour force, which includes those looking for work, increased by a similar amount. The result: Gatineau's jobless rate deteriorated to 5.1 per cent in May from 4.8 per cent in April.

Nationally, Statistics Canada said the economy lost 7,500 jobs last month as full-time positions fell by 31,000.

The decline in construction jobs also comes as the country's once-hot housing market has cooled in recent months in response to rising interest rates and tighter mortgage rules that came into effect in January.

"The may employment report was slightly disastrous, but the decline shows that the labor market is in quite a predicament due to the growing pressure on wages", - said in a brief analysis, a senior economist at the Bank of Montreal's Robert Kavcic.

"Add in some other strong indicators this week, and the Bank of Canada should be on track to raise rates next month barring more fallout on the trade front".

The loss of jobs came as the health care and social assistance sector lost 24,000 jobs, while the manufacturing sector lost 18,000. Employment in construction fell 13,000.

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But average hourly wages rose 3.9 per cent from a year earlier, matching a pace last seen in July, 2012.

Full-time employment dropped by 31k net positions, while 23.6k part-time positions were added.

In British Columbia, employment fell by 12,000 in the month, according to Stats Canada.

On the contrary, the service-sector continued to add jobs, with notable gains in accommodation and food services, and professional services.

With files from The Canadian Press.