Laurentian University economist David Robison, in his monthly labour report, said Greater Sudbury outperformed the national economy for the third month in a row.
“For Sudbury, the picture is more positive,” Robinson wrote. “In December, Sudbury added 1,400 jobs. (By comparison,) Thunder Bay has lost jobs about 100 jobs, having lost about 200 the previous month.”
While Sudbury continues to thrive, northeastern Ontario as a whole is struggling, as is the northwest, Robinson reports.
“The northeast has lost 10,600 jobs over the last year, a 5 per cent decline in employment,” he said. “The northwest has lost 3,500 jobs, or 3.5% of the total employment. Overall, Northern Ontario is in a slow decline. Sudbury’s surge is remarkable under these circumstances.
“Notice however that Barrie, Sudbury’s nearest competitor to the south has much higher employment growth. On the other hand, Winnipeg, a competitor to the west, has slower growth.”
That’s a general indication, he said, that “the driver in the Canadian economy will be southern Ontario over the next period.”
While Sudbury added jobs in January, the seasonally adjusted jobless rate actually increased, rising to 7.4 per cent from 6.8 per cent in December. The labour force grew by almost 1,000 people, and the number of people looking for work also increased. Both factors led to an increase in the unemployment rate, even as the city added jobs.
For Canada as a whole, the economy lost 20,600 full-time and 1,400 part-time jobs in January, with the hard-hit manufacturing sector shedding 21,600 positions. An increase in the number of self-employed was outweighed by job losses among private and public sector employees.
Because fewer people were looking for work, the overall jobless rate dipped to 7 per cent last month from 7.1 per cent in December. Nationally, almost 58,000 Canadians left the work force in January or ceased looking for employment, the largest exodus from the labour market since 1995.
January’s unemployment rate is the lowest since the 6.8 percent recorded in December 2008, but still well above the 6.1 percent seen before the 2008 economic crisis.
The average hourly wage of permanent employees increased by 2 per cent compared to January 2012, down from the 2.5 per cent year-over-growth seen in December. There was good news in the construction trade, however, which saw its second consecutive monthly increase and added another 17,000 jobs in January. And employment in public administration rose 15,000, reversing the previous month’s decline.
-- files from Statistics Canada