Northeast BC unemployment rate increased in January 2019

StatCan jobs

The data ended a downward slide in unemployment in the Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake region, after unemployment began dropping from last June's high of 6.5 per cent.

Following a quieter month in December, volatility returned, with the Labour Force Survey suggesting 67,000 jobs were created in January.

In a comparison to last January most regions saw their unemployment rate decline. Stephen from 7.1 to 6.5, Fredericton-Oromocto from 7.9 to 7.7 and Edmundston-Woodstock from 7.4 to 7.3.

In the Calgary census metropolitan area, the unemployment rate fell to 7.3 per cent from 7.5 per cent the previous month.

Like B.C., the gain in unemployment came as more people entered the workforce. One year ago, the region's unemployment rate was 6.6 per cent.

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

The numbers Friday also showed that, year-over-year, the number of employee hours worked were up 1.2 per cent compared to 0.9 per cent in December. Canada's employment rate, participation rate and unemployment rate were all higher than that of the United States, adjusting for US-based employment concepts.

Canada added 30,900 full-time jobs last month and 36,000 part-time positions, the report also said.

But analysts warned the 52,800 job bump among youth may simply be catch-up after losses in previous months, noting the unemployment rate for youth was little changed at 11.2 percent as more looked for work.

"Volatility returned with a notable increase in employment during the month of January", he wrote.

Even with the improvement, the January number remained just under the inflation level, which suggests Canadians' salaries could have a tough time keeping up with rising prices for consumer goods. "So while today's data will be bullish for the Canadian dollar and bearish for fixed income, the Bank of Canada is still likely on the sidelines for the first half of 2019".

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