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Unemployment rate in Medicine Hat rises in January

10 February 2018, 01:40 | Ross Houston

Unemployment rate in Medicine Hat rises in January

Unemployment rate in Medicine Hat rises in January

The drop in employment pushed the national jobless rate up by 0.1 percentage points to 5.9 per cent.

Ontario, which increased its minimum wage in January, was the biggest loser in January, shedding 50,900 jobs in the month.

The decrease of 88,000 jobs fell well short of economists' forecasts for a gain of 10,000 and made for the biggest decline since January 2009 when the economy was dealing with the global financial crisis.

The overall number was dragged down by a loss of 137,000 part-time positions in what was easily the category's largest one-month collapse since the agency started gathering the data in 1976.

That marked the steepest monthly decline in nine years and followed a year of torrid job creation.

The average hourly wage of permanent employees climbed 3.3 per cent from last January, the strongest rate of gains since March 2016. "But Ontario employs 40 per cent of Canadians", she said. "The unemployment rate is still low with the economy remaining close to full employment".

It triggered a backlash among much of the business community, which is dealing with rising interest rates, stricter mortgage rules and uncertain trade relations with the United States and Mexico.

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Compared to January 2017, unemployment in Nanaimo has fallen from 5.9 per cent. However, about half of those positive numbers were within the survey's margin of error. For example, the previous two labour surveys shocked markets when they showed employers added a total of 160,000 new positions. It is not unusual to see a city's unemployment rate rise during stronger economic times as more people join the labour because the chances of finding work are better.

Mr. Shenfeld noted that the participation rate in the Statscan survey declined in Ontario, and said: "Hard to argue that higher minimum wages would cause Ontarians to decide not to work or look for jobs".

On a year-over-year basis, employment grew by 289,000 or 1.6 per cent nationally.

The London area jobless rate jumped from 6.2 per cent to 6.5 per cent in January as more people surged back into the job market.

The unemployment rate in Kitchener-Waterloo fell to 5.1 per cent, but only because of 2,600 drop in the local labour force.

After a record-breaking string of gains, Canada's job market was due for a pullback, said James Marple, TD senior economist.



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