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January unemployment up from December, drops from start of 2018

10 February 2019

According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate last month was 6 per cent, down from 7 per cent in January 2018.

The rise in the unemployment rate was attributable to an expansion in the labor force with more people seeking jobs.

"In January, the number of employees increased by 112,000 in the private sector, while it was little changed in the public sector for the third consecutive month".

Locally, the number of people listed as employed has gone up from about 20,600 last year to an estimated 21,600 this year.

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He said it's also important to consider that growth in Canada's population and labour force has accelerated, thanks in large part to immigration.

Compared to a year earlier - January 2018 - the province gained 10,700 employment opportunities, but 25,200 of those jobs were part-time, meaning there was a loss of 14,400 full-time jobs over the past year.

The unemployment rate dropped to 8.2 per cent in January from 8.4 per cent in December.

"Overall, it's been a good day for readings on the Canadian economy", says Royce Mendes, senior economist at CIBC, in a research note. In December 2018, the unemployment rate was 6.4 per cent.

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In Prince Albert and Northern Saskatchewan, which includes data for our region, year-over-year, the unemployment rate vaulted to 7.8 per cent from 6.7.

In a note to clients Friday, CIBC Chief Economist Royce Mendes wrote the latest job readings were "a auto stuck on one of Canada's clogged highways: speeding up then slowing down just to speed back up again".

Statistics Canada's monthly Labour Force Survey provides estimates of employment and unemployment, based on a sampling of households in communities. Many analysts expect governor Stephen Poloz to wait until much later in 2019 before making a move.

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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