Canada's unemployment rate sticks at 43-year low of 5.6 per cent

The unemployment rate in Canada sits at 5.2 per cent, while the unemployment rate in Alberta is now at 6.1 per cent. The central bank has pushed its benchmark rate north five times since the summer of 2017, with its next announcement set for Wednesday.

"We suspect that behind the scenes, the Bank of Canada is also a bit puzzled by the combination of healthy trend employment gains and decelerating wages".

"Without bottom-up wage pressure, further monetary tightening is clearly not urgent".

Average hourly wage growth for all employees accelerated to just under two per cent last month - only slightly above the latest core inflation reading.

A closer look at the December jobs numbers revealed softer details.

Saskatchewan saw a marginal net gain of 100 jobs in December, as part-time employment fell by 2,200 positions and full-time work crept up 2,300.

The net gain of 9,300 for the month was deemed too low by Statistics Canada to be statistically significant. That followed 94,000 net hires in November.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said on December 17 that the pace of tightening, which he stresses will be heavily dependent on data, could be interrupted or sped up depending on the economic circumstances.

The service industries, including healthcare and social assistance, educational services, transportation and warehousing, and business, building and other support services, were the biggest contributor to employment gains. British Columbia remained the lowest with 4.4 per cent. Employment saw a 2.5 per cent rise year-over-year, but from November to December, it fell 0.5 per cent. Unemployment increased 7.3 per cent since December 2017.

In B.C., the province saw an increase of 44,000 jobs in 2018, nearly entirely full-time work.

RED DEER- Stats Canada numbers show the Red Deer area unemployment rate at 4.4 per cent in December, the lowest in Alberta and a full per cent drop from 5.4 per cent in November.

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