Unemployment at 43-year low

Job market

CBJ — The national unemployment rate remained at a 43-year low of 5.6% last month as the economy closed out 2018 with the addition of 9,300 net new jobs.

For the second straight month, the jobless rate was at its lowest level since Statistics Canada started measuring comparable data in January 1976.

Year-over-year average hourly wage growth for permanent employees was almost 1.5% in November — and it has decelerated steadily since its May peak of 3.9%.

The December result follows a gain of 94,100 net jobs in November, the country’s largest monthly increase since March 2012.

In the jobs report Friday, the overall employment gain of 9,300 for December was deemed too low by Statistics Canada to be statistically significant.

Alberta, which has been hit hard by a drop in oil prices, saw a net decrease last month of 16,900 jobs or 0.7%, compared with November, as an increase in part-time work was far outweighed by a loss of 36,200 full-time positions.

The Bank of Canada has been monitoring wage growth ahead of its interest-rate decisions as it tries to determine how well indebted households can absorb higher borrowing costs.

The central bank, which will make a rate announcement next Wednesday, has raised its benchmark rate five times since the summer of 2017 in response to Canada’s strong economic performance. Governor Stephen Poloz has signalled that more increases will be needed to prevent inflation from rising too high.

December employment (numbers from November in brackets):

  •    Unemployment rate: 5.6% (5.6)
  •    Employment rate: 61.7% (61.7)
  •    Participation rate: 65.4% (65.4)
  •    Number unemployed: 1,125,100 (1,124,800)
  •    Number working: 18,808,400 (18,799,100)
  •    Youth (15-24 years) unemployment rate: 11.1% (10.8)
  •    Men (25 plus) unemployment rate: 4.9% (5.0)
  •    Women (25 plus) unemployment rate: 4.6% (4.7)

Canada’s national unemployment rate was 5.6% in December. Here are the jobless rates last month by province (numbers from the previous month in brackets):

  • Newfoundland and Labrador 11.7% (12.2)
  • Prince Edward Island 9.6 (8.5)
  • Nova Scotia 7.1 (7.0)
  • New Brunswick 8.4 (7.9)
  • Quebec 5.5 (5.4)
  • Ontario 5.4 (5.6)
  • Manitoba 6.0 (5.7)
  • Saskatchewan 5.6 (5.5)
  • Alberta 6.4 (6.3)
  • British Columbia 4.4 (4.4)

Statistics Canada also released seasonally adjusted, three-month moving average unemployment rates for major cities. Jobless rates in December by city (numbers from November in brackets):

  • St. John’s, N.L. 7.5% (8.1)
  • Halifax 5.7 (6.2)
  • Moncton, N.B. 5.2 (5.2)
  • Saint John, N.B. 6.3 (5.7)
  • Saguenay, Que. 5.1 (5.4)
  • Quebec 3.9 (3.8)
  • Sherbrooke, Que. 5.5 (5.4)
  • Trois-Rivieres, Que. 5.3 (5.3)
  • Montreal 5.9 (5.9)
  • Gatineau, Que. 4.8 (4.6)
  • Ottawa 5.0 (4.6)
  • Kingston, Ont. 5.9 (5.5)
  • Peterborough, Ont. 5.2 (5.2)
  • Oshawa, Ont. 5.8 (5.7)
  • Toronto 6.0 (6.2)
  • Hamilton, Ont. 4.3 (4.7)
  • St. Catharines-Niagara, Ont. 6.9 (7.0)
  • Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Ont. 5.1 (5.1)
  • Brantford, Ont. 6.4 (7.0)
  • Guelph, Ont. 2.3 (3.0)
  • London, Ont. 5.0 (4.8)
  • Windsor, Ont. 5.4 (6.0)
  • Barrie, Ont. 4.8 (5.0)
  • Sudbury, Ont. 6.3 (6.3)
  • Thunder Bay, Ont. 5.2 (5.1)
  • Winnipeg 5.8 (5.9)
  • Regina 5.9 (6.4)
  • Saskatoon 5.6 (6.1)
  • Calgary 7.6 (7.9)
  • Edmonton 6.3 (6.2)
  • Kelowna, B.C. 3.3 (3.9)
  • Abbotsford-Mission, B.C. 4.5 (4.6)
  • Vancouver 4.4 (4.1)
  • Victoria 3.6 (3.8)

@CanBizJournal

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