Canada suffers biggest job loss in nine years

Doug Carpenter
February 10, 2018

And the industry with the majority of minimum-wage workers - accommodation and food services - actually created jobs in January, according to Statscan's monthly jobs report released on Friday.

The Conference Board of Canada's chief economist Craig Alexander said in a note that while some may speculate the provincial employment drop could be related to the new minimum wage, there is a lot of volatility in job numbers and time will tell to what extent the two are correlated.

In the United States, there was a increase of 200,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rates was unchanged at 4.1 per cent.

"January saw an (88,000) drop in employment, reversing about half of the spectacular gains we registered late previous year".

"We also need to watch to see if our community is affected by the loss of part-time work like elsewhere in Ontario".


The drop was driven by a 137,000 decline in part-time work, the biggest on record, which eclipsed a 49,000 increase in full-time positions.

Provincially, B.C. unemployment sat at 4.8 per cent in January, up slightly from 4.6, after shedding 5,100 jobs.

Even with the decline, Canada has had a strong run of job creation that's generated 414,100 full-time jobs over a 12-month period.

It's the largest unemployment decline in a single month since 2009. "But Ontario employs 40 per cent of Canadians", she said. The rate bumped up to 60.1 per cent after spending most of 2017 below 60 per cent. That compares with December's figures of a 56,200-person labour force, with 48,500 people working and 7,700 looking for work.

"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. Thomas unemployment rate ends 2017 at 6.2% .


"Ontario is leading Canada in economic growth", he added, noting the jobless rate has been below the national average for 34 consecutive months.

Yet, in most cases, the data suggest the greater proportion of employees with hourly wages at or below C$14 in December, the greater the declines in January.

Victoria saw an unemployment increase for the second consecutive month at 3.9 per cent from 3.5.

Others didn't expect the January report, on its own, to have a significant impact on the outcome of the Bank of Canada's next rate announcement. Pay started to increase late summer and accelerated to as high as 2.8 per cent in November.


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