Canada adds 67K new jobs in January, but unemployment rate ticks higher

Roman Schwartz
February 10, 2019

The number of self-employed positions, which can include unpaid work, declined by 60,700.

The unemployment rate in Northeast B.C. saw an increase in January.

"Definitely the headline job gain was very impressive", said BMO chief economist Douglas Porter.

"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.

In Brantford, Statistics Canada estimates that 1,600 job seekers found work in January.

"I think it does underscore that for all the doom and gloom in the market, the Canadian economy is not in a bad place in quite a few sectors", said Andrew Kelvin, senior rates strategists at TD Securities.

However, using the jobless rate to assess the progress of the capital region's workforce over the past decade is a bit of an illusion. The central bank does focus on a reading called "wage common", which incorporates payroll data from several sources, not just from the labour force survey.

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The jobless rate, in Canada, for men 25 years of age or older was 5.2%.

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.

The numbers Friday also showed that, year-over-year, the number of employee hours worked were up 1.2 per cent compared to 0.9 per cent in December.

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

Part-time job gains outpaced full-time, 36,000 positions versus 30,900, respectively, and youth aged 15 to 24 led employment growth, adding 52,800 jobs.

The rise in the unemployment rate was attributable to an expansion in the labor force with more people seeking jobs.

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

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