Markets

January unemployment rate rises in Alberta

January unemployment rate rises in Alberta

The region finished 2018 with a 4.7% unemployment rate in December, when 40,300 were employed.

The Canadian economy pumped out 67,000 news jobs in January - smashing economists' forecasts calling for 5,000 new positions.

Capital Economics also thinks the surprising job gains won't change the Bank of Canada's mind.

It was the second month of outsized gains in the last three, though economists said mediocre wage growth and the dismal oil and gas sector would hold back any action by the central bank the next time it decides on interest rates on March 6.

"It might catch your eye that you have this massive print in youth employment, but the actual story is that youth employment over the previous year is just flat; it was reversing some of the losses we've seen recently", said Royce Mendes, senior economist at CIBC World Markets.

Nationally, the unemployment rate increased slightly to 5.8 per cent, up from 5.6 per cent in December 2018. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. The number of part- and full-time positions declined by 400 and 2,400, respectively.




Provincially, unemployment climbed to 6.8 per cent from 6.4 per cent in December 2018. "That blew past expectations for a modest 5,000 gain", said Royce Mendes, an economist with CIBC Economics.

She said the struggles of energy-producing provinces, which began with the late-2014 oil slump, have been a big factor that has dragged down national wage-growth numbers. Canada's largest province added 41,000 jobs and saw 31,000 more people join the labour force.

Friday's Statistics Canada numbers also showed that employees worked 1.2 per cent more hours, year-over-year, compared to the 0.9 per cent reading in December.

More young Canadians, between the ages of 15 and 24 years old, found work last month as youth employment gained 52,800 positions.

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