Published: Mon, February 11, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Canada adds 66,800 jobs in January, unemployment rate rises

Canada adds 66,800 jobs in January, unemployment rate rises

Canada's largest province added 41,000 jobs and saw 31,000 more people join the labour force.

Most of the jobs were in the private sector, which recorded the biggest month-to-month increase since the agency started collecting the data point in 1976.

Victoria saw no change in its jobless rate last month, holding at 3.6 per cent that was reported in December.

According to Statistics Canada, there were 18, 873, 900 people working last month across all of Canada, with 1,162,000 people unemployed.

Stats Canada reports the economy created 66,800 net new jobs last month.

The sector covering food services and accomodations saw the biggest gains from December to January, with 600 jobs added. "That blew past expectations for a modest 5,000 gain", said Royce Mendes, an economist with CIBC Economics.

He said it's also important to consider that growth in Canada's population and labour force has accelerated, thanks in large part to immigration.

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Local numbers are not adjusted for seasonality, meaning they shouldn't be used to compare data month-to-month.

Here in Saskatchewan, employment dropped by 2,800 positions, but the unemployment rate fell slightly to 5.5 per cent as the province's labour force shrunk to 610,100 from 613,200. Canada's employment rate, participation rate and unemployment rate were all higher than that of the United States, adjusting for US-based employment concepts.

The Alberta rate rose from 6.4 per cent in December to 6.8 last month after almost 16,000 jobs were lost.

The economy shed 32,300 goods sector positions, mostly in agriculture and construction. The central bank stayed on the sidelines last month after five hikes since July 2017, and most analysts expect no action. The national unemployment rate increase by 0.2 per cent to 5.8 per cent in January.

More young Canadians, between the ages of 15 and 24 years old, found work last month as youth employment gained 52,800 positions. The details were relatively solid too, with the all of the jobs coming in paid employment and a slight tick up in wage growth despite Ontario's minimum wage increase falling out of the annual calculation.

Provincially, B.C. continued to have the lowest unemployment rate in the country for the 17th month in a row in January, at 4.7 per cent while nationally, Canada's unemployment rate was 5.8 per cent.

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