Canada blows past forecasts by adding 67,000 new jobs in January

Woman looking through a filing cabinet. GETTY IMAGES  Raphye Alexius

Woman looking through a filing cabinet. GETTY IMAGES Raphye Alexius

The unemployment rate ticked up by 0.2 percentage points as more people looked for work.

The only region that saw a increase since last January was the Campbellton-Miramichi, where unemployment rose from to 14.7 per cent from 13.2.

The services sector saw a gain of 99,200 positions, led by new work in wholesale and retail trade, while the goods-producing industries experienced a net loss of 32,300 jobs, the report said.

The labour force counts residents who are either working or looking for work (unemployed).

In Prince Albert and Northern Saskatchewan, which includes data for our region, year-over-year, the unemployment rate vaulted to 7.8 per cent from 6.7. Canada's employment rate, participation rate and unemployment rate were all higher than that of the United States, adjusting for US-based employment concepts.

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.

"Following a quieter month in December", when the economy generated only 9,300 new jobs, January's figures "blew past expectations" commented Royce Mendes of CIBC Economics, for a modest gain of 5,000 to 6,000 jobs. The central bank stayed on the sidelines last month after five hikes since July 2017, and most analysts expect no action.

Friday's Statistics Canada numbers also showed that employees worked 1.2 per cent more hours, year-over-year, compared to the 0.9 per cent reading in December.

More young Canadians, between the ages of 15 and 24 years old, also found work last month as youth employment gained 52,800 positions.

By region, Ontario and Quebec had the biggest employment increases last month.

Across the province, the unemployment rate was down slightly from 5.5 per cent to 5.4 per cent - the second-lowest rate in the country, after British Columbia, where the unemployment rate was 4.7 per cent.

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