Ottawa area jobless rate climbs to 5.2% despite 1,900 new jobs

Cornelia Mascio
Febbraio 10, 2019

British Columbia had the lowest unemployment rate at 4.7 per cent, while Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest at 11.4 per cent.

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

That's down from 5.2 in December and 5.9 per cent a year earlier.

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. The trend of more people entering the workforce and either working or looking for a job also continued, with the labour force increasing from 22,500 to 23,700.

One way to look at it, if the participation rate last month had been 73.3 per cent as it was in October 2008 the capital region's workforce - 779,000 in January - would have been larger by some 70,000.

The number of workers in professional, scientific and technical services also rose, while jobs in goods-producing sectors decreased - notably in agriculture. It was 6.4 per cent in Toronto. "On a trend-cycle basis, self-employment has levelled off in recent months", said StatsCan.

Overall, employment gains were driven entirely by private sector employees while the number of self-employed decreased.

"The annual increase in average hourly earnings did rise to 1.8 per cent in January from 1.5 per cent in December though it is still indicative of flat real wage growth".

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

By region, Ontario and Quebec had the biggest employment increases last month. Unemployment in that province increased by 0.4 percentage points.

Mendes predicted that first quarter economic growth is still likely to be "somewhat weak" due to struggles getting oil to new markets due to regulatory delays in building new pipelines. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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