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StatsCan: City has added 3,900 jobs in the last year

We added 900 jobs last month alone, monthly labour force survey finds

Greater Sudbury added almost 900 jobs in January, according to Statistics Canada's monthly labour force survey.

But a surge of 1,300 more people looking for work in the city pushed the jobless rate to 6.7 per cent, up from 6.3 per cent in December.

Compared to the same time last year, Greater Sudbury has added 3,900 jobs and seen the size of its labour force rise to 90,100 from 85,900 last January, when unemployment stood at 6.6 per cent.

Nationally, Canada saw a rush of 66,800 net new jobs in January, fuelled by a hiring surge in the private sector. As in Greater Sudbury, more people also searching for work last month pushed the unemployment rate to 5.8 per cent from its 43-year low of 5.6 per cent in December.

Economists had expected the addition of 8,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

The biggest boost came from the number of private-sector employee positions, which climbed by 111,500 in January for the category's biggest month-to-month increase since the agency started collecting the data point in 1976. The number of self-employed positions, which can include unpaid work, declined by 60,700.

The services sector saw a gain of 99,200 positions, led by new work in wholesale and retail trade, while the goods-producing industries experienced a net loss of 32,300 jobs, the report said. 

Employment rose by 29,000 jobs in professional, scientific and technical services. Jobs in public administration increased by 21,000, led by gains in Ontario and Quebec.

Year-over-year average hourly wage growth in January for permanent employees was 1.8 per cent, up from December's reading of 1.5 per cent, but still well below its May peak of 3.9 per cent.

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.

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

Derek Holt, head of capital markets economics for Scotiabank, said in a written statement that the Friday job numbers "blew away expectations for Canadian labour markets to ring in the new year."

But more useful than any monthly jump is the larger picture view, he said.

"Over the past year, Canada has grown 327,000 new jobs. Since an inflection point in mid-2016, once the economy was adjusting to the much more serious and longer lived commodity shock in 2014-15, Canada has grown about 900,000 jobs — 75 per cent of which have been full time."

Holt also pointed out that consensus forecasting of job growth has been routinely underestimating labour market growth, missing more than "60 per cent of the cumulative job gains produced in the Canadian economy over the past three years." 

By region, Ontario and Quebec had the biggest employment increases last month. Energy-rich Alberta, hit hard by the oil-price decline, shed jobs for a second-straight month and saw its jobless rate rise to 6.8 per cent, up from 6.4 per cent.

– Files from Canadian Press


Darren MacDonald

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