Published: Sun, February 10, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Canada's jobless rate edges higher to 5.8 pct in January

Canada's jobless rate edges higher to 5.8 pct in January

"We're working hard to nurture a sustainable economy that works for people".

The employment rate was down from 62.8 per cent in December to 62.6 per cent in January. "That blew past expectations for a modest 5,000 gain", said Royce Mendes, an economist with CIBC Economics.

The government organization released the monthly report for January 2019, showing Medicine Hat's unemployment rate hit 7.7 per cent, up from 6.4 per cent in December 2018.

"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.

Even with the improvement, the January number remained just under the inflation level, which suggests Canadians' salaries could have a tough time keeping up with rising prices for consumer goods. Due to this, the country nearly needs big monthly job numbers just to keep the unemployment rate steady, Porter added.

The Bank of Canada has been monitoring wage growth ahead of its interest-rate decisions as it tries to determine how well indebted households can absorb higher borrowing costs.

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

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She said the struggles of energy-producing provinces, which began with the late-2014 oil slump, have been a big factor that has dragged down national wage-growth numbers.

Despite the gain, B.C. still maintains the lowest unemployment rate among the provinces. The central bank stayed on the sidelines last month after five hikes since July 2017, and most analysts expect no action.

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

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.

Canada added 30,900 full-time jobs last month and 36,000 part-time positions, the report said.

January has been the highest recorded unemployment percentage since September 2018 at 5.6 percent, an estimated 39,900 people are employed in a labour force of 42,100.

The details were relatively solid too, with the all of the jobs coming in paid employment and a slight tick up in wage growth despite Ontario's minimum wage increase falling out of the annual calculation.

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