Canada gains 66,800 jobs, blowing away forecasts

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

Last month's unemployment in the census region covering Wood Buffalo dropped by 0.7 per cent compared to the start of 2018, according to data released by Statistics Canada on Friday.

"The annual increase in average hourly earnings did rise to 1.8 per cent in January from 1.5 per cent in December though it is still indicative of flat real wage growth".

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

There was a surge of 66,800 net new jobs across the country, but many Canadians were still left searching for work. That's down from 5.2 in December and 5.9 per cent a year earlier. 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 B.C., Stats Canada says the unemployment rate climbed three-tenths to 4.7 per cent in January, still the lowest of any Canadian province. Employment in the Calgary region rose by 2,900 month over month and by 6,900 year over year.

Overall, employment gains were driven entirely by private sector employees while the number of self-employed decreased.

In a note to clients Friday, CIBC Chief Economist Royce Mendes wrote the latest job readings were "a vehicle stuck on one of Canada's clogged highways: speeding up then slowing down just to speed back up again".

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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.

"Labour markets still look solid".

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.

Employment was up 0.9 per cent from January 2019 in Quebec.

Canada added 30,900 full-time jobs last month and 36,000 part-time positions, the report said. Most of the jobs went to youth aged 15 to 24 in services-producing industries.

Year-over-year, the unemployment rate is up from January 2018 when it sat at 3.8%, and when 37,700 people were reported to be employed in a labour force of 39,200.

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