Economy

Red Deer area January unemployment rate lowest in Alberta

Red Deer area January unemployment rate lowest in Alberta

Canada added 66,800 jobs in January, far exceeding market expectations, while the unemployment rate ticked up to 5.8 percent as more people sought work, Statistics Canada reported on Friday.

The government organization released the monthly report for January 2019, showing Medicine Hat's unemployment rate hit 7.7 per cent, up from 6.4 per cent in December 2018.

(StatsCan warns with unadjusted data, one can not make month-to-month comparisons since different seasonal factors influence each month).

One way to look at it, if the participation rate last month had been 73.3 per cent as it was in October 2008 the capital region's workforce - 779,000 in January - would have been larger by some 70,000.

Compared to a year earlier - January 2018 - the province gained 10,700 employment opportunities, but 25,200 of those jobs were part-time, meaning there was a loss of 14,400 full-time jobs over the past year.

"Definitely the headline job gain was very impressive", said BMO chief economist Douglas Porter. In January 2018, the jobless rate for the region was listed at 6.6%. "We actually saw a record gain in private-sector payrolls".

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With a small estimated population change of only 100 people and the increases in both people working and people looking, the unemployment rate has gone up slightly.

"As demonstrated in the newest results, higher wages, low unemployment and good jobs in British Columbia show that people are at the centre of our strong and stable economy".

The jobless rate, in Canada, for men 25 years of age or older was 5.2%.

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".

Ontario and Quebec had the biggest employment increases last month. The central bank stayed on the sidelines last month after five hikes since July 2017, and most analysts expect no action.