Sask. tied for 2nd lowest unemployment rate in Canada

CANADIAN UNEMPLOYMENT IN JANUARY

Compared to January 2017, there were 1500 more jobs in the province last month.

The Canadian economy lost the most jobs in nine years in January, pulling back after a robust 2017 as losses were heaviest in the service sectors, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday.

Nationally, the unemployment rate increased slightly by 0.1 percentage points to 5.9 per cent in January.

Ontario lost 59,300 part-time positions and created 8,500 full-time spots.

But all the losses last month were in part-time job which decreased by 137,000 while full-time jobs rose by 49,000. Most of the other provinces also shouldered part-time losses, with Quebec shedding 31,000 positions.

In total, 560,100 people in the province were employed in January.

"A mysterious mix of good and bad, with the latter's impact blunted by how strong job gains were in the lead up to these figures", Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, said in a note to investors.

Economists are always cautious about reading too much into one-month of numbers in a data series that can be volatile. "The unemployment rate is still low with the economy remaining close to full employment".

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The hike was driven by an increase to the labour force and the number of people claiming unemployment.

In Ontario the jobless rate fell to 5.5 per cent from 5.6 per cent in December.

"We will want to see a few more months of data to judge whether there has been an impact from the minimum-wage hike", said Josh Nye, economist with RBC.

The monthly employment figures for specific regions of Canada, like Cape Breton, are determined by a three-month moving average of unemployment rates unadjusted for seasonality, while national, provincial and major city numbers reflect monthly numbers which are seasonally adjusted.

The higher minimum rate could have underpinned Canada's stronger wage growth.

"Today's sour news is at least in part an offset to the unusually strong gains seen late a year ago, and most likely does not represent the start of new trend". The growth represents an increase of 2.8 per cent. The Northeast had the lowest unemployment in B.C. last month.

January's job losses lowered expectations that the Bank of Canada would hike interest rates at its next rate announcement scheduled for March.

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