Saturday, 24 February, 2018

Canada sheds jobs, employment up in PA

Economy Lost 88K in January Canada shed 88000 jobs in January
Kelvin Reese | 10 February, 2018, 06:45

Despite the drop, Ontario's unemployment edged down ever so slightly (to 5.5 per cent) as 54,800 people left the labour force.

Victoria's finance, insurance and real estate sector saw the biggest gain in employment over the a year ago with 7,500 new positions.

Wage growth also received a boost in January, a month that saw Ontario lift its minimum wage.

BMO chief economist Douglas Porter also cautioned against "drawing a straight line from the [wage] hike to one month's job move", noting in a research note that harsh weather in January appeared to have hit employment in the province's construction sector (down 14,900 jobs) and transportation industry (down 5,900 jobs).

A closer look at the January data showed the number of paid employee positions also experienced a significant loss last month by shedding 112,000 positions.

The jobless rate in Nanaimo also increased to 4.8 per cent, compared to 4.7 per cent in December.

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.

"Quite frankly, we were overdue for a bad number".

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Despite Canada's healthy economic performance previous year, Alexander said the surprising pace of job creation had been stronger than the other data. Economists had been expecting a gain for the month of about 9,000 to 10,000 jobs, so the figures that came out were surprising.

"I don't think that the January number is the start of a whole series of declines - I think it's more of a reflection of the fact that we were tracking abnormally strong numbers behind us", Alexander said.

The unemployment rate for Nova Scotia in January was 8.2 per cent, up 0.2 per cent from December. Poloz has repeatedly said future rate decisions will be highly data dependent.

Employment declines were seen across the field, from low-paying jobs in warehousing, retail and wholesale to lucrative areas of professional, scientific and technical services.

Overall, economists are divided on how minimum wage increases play out. While there were job losses in Quebec, New Brunswick, and Manitoba, Alberta saw very little in the way of job losses as part-time workers were replaced with full-time workers.

In Ontario, it's thought that some of the part-time job losses were the result of a hike in Ontario's minimum wage which increased to $14 an hour from $11.60 an hour as of January 1, 2018.

"But proving causality may remain contentious".

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