January unemployment up from December, drops from start of 2018

New Brunswick adds 3,600 jobs in January, pushing unemployment rate down

New Brunswick adds 3,600 jobs in January, pushing unemployment rate down

The latest labour force estimates were released by Statistics Canada Friday, and they paint a rosy picture with more people working in January 2019 than at this time a year ago.

The unemployment rate ticked up by 0.2 percentage points as more people looked for work.

The Canadian dollar jumped more than a quarter of a cent in the moments after Statistics Canada announced the jobs numbers. The number of part- and full-time positions declined by 400 and 2,400, respectively.

Following a quieter month in December, volatility returned, with the Labour Force Survey suggesting 67,000 jobs were created in January. Public sector employees remained largely unchanged, adding roughly 15,900 jobs.

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

The labour force counts residents who are either working or looking for work (unemployed). The unemployment rate did rise, but only because of an increase in the participation rate.

Provincially, Alberta lost jobs for the second straight month, pushing its unemployment rate up to 6.8 per cent.

While there were close to 16,000 fewer jobs in January, on an annual basis employment was actually up by 10,700 positions. The unemployment rate continued to hover at about 5.5 per cent. Year-over-year, Saskatchewan gained 7,700 jobs.

The economy shed 32,300 goods sector positions, mostly in agriculture and construction.

Overall, a consensus of economists had expected the addition of 8,000 jobs for the month and a jobless rate of 5.7 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon. Many analysts expect governor Stephen Poloz to wait until much later in 2019 before making a move.

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.

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

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