Tuesday, 25 September, 2018

Canada shed 88000 jobs in January

A cashier at Best Buy A cashier scans a television for a customer looks at Best Buy in Ottawa on Friday Nov. 25 2016
Grady Vargas | 10 February, 2018, 09:45

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.

Porter said there were some special factors in January including the minimum wage hike in Ontario, harsh winter weather which affected construction and an inevitable pullback after exceptionally strong job growth in 2017.

As well there were 6200 full-time jobs created month-over-month.

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. They'll scrutinize incoming data over the next few months to get a better sense of the kind of impact Ontario's minimum-wage increase could have on the provincial job market. Ontario saw a net loss of 51,000 jobs. "But Ontario employs 40 per cent of Canadians", she said.

The unemployment rate in Kitchener-Waterloo fell to 5.1 per cent, but only because of 2,600 drop in the local labour force. The rate bumped up to 60.1 per cent after spending most of 2017 below 60 per cent. Some smaller restaurant owners also said they would change their menus and juggle shifts as a way of dealing with higher costs.

"If you take a six-month average, you're still sitting pretty close to 20,000, which is what people generally view as being consistent with a Canadian economy that's either at trend or slightly above trend from the rear-view perspective", David Tulk, Toronto-based institutional portfolio manager at Fidelity Investments, said by phone.

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Statscan's labour-force survey is volatile and has a significant margin of error.

The number of jobs in Canada fell by 88,000 in January, ending the economy's 17-month streak of job gains, Statistics Canada said Friday. That compares with December's figures of a 56,200-person labour force, with 48,500 people working and 7,700 looking for work.

The wage improvements in January arrived the same month that saw Ontario take the controversial step of raising its minimum wage.

"One of the positives in today's release was the fact that wage growth picked up", said Craig Alexander, chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada.

The jobs survey shows Victoria remains among the lowest in the country with only Quebec City at a lower rate.

The biggest question from Friday's disappointing Canadian employment report is how much can be traced to Ontario's sharp minimum wage increase last month.

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