Medicine Hat's unemployment rate hit 7.7 per cent in January

Marco Green
February 10, 2019

Alberta also saw jobs fall for the second straight month, with 16,000 job losses in January. Last month, that went up to 6.8%, according to the Statistic Canada assessment.

The number is down a full percentage point from January 2018, where the unemployment rate was at 8.7 per cent.

Wages for permanent employees accelerated to 1.8 per cent in January from 1.5 per cent in December, and overall wage growth ran steady at two per cent.

The significance is that had people not left the labour force in the numbers they did, our jobless rate would now be significantly higher.

Employment rose in six provinces, led by Ontario and Quebec, while it fell in Alberta and Saskatchewan. It was 6.4 per cent in Toronto. The unemployment rate did rise, but only because of an increase in the participation rate. That was down from 63.8 per cent in January 2018.

In Calgary, the unemployment rate was at 7.3% last month, while in Edmonton, it was at 6.4%.

New Brunswick's unemployment rate dropped slightly in January as the economy added roughly 3,600 jobs, according to labour force numbers released by Statistics Canada on Friday. 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 number of self-employed positions, which can include unpaid work, declined by 60,700.

The Canadian economy pumped out 67,000 news jobs in January - smashing economists' forecasts calling for 5,000 new positions.

Last week, Bank of Canada senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins said the country has been in a "puzzling" stretch of weak wage growth at a time when the job market has been experiencing one of its biggest labour shortages in years.

"So while today's data will be bullish for the Canadian dollar and bearish for fixed income, the Bank of Canada is still likely on the sidelines for the first half of 2019", says Mendes.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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