Jobless rate takes surprising jump
OTTAWA—The Canadian economy lost a surprising 45,900 jobs in December and the unemployment rate rose unexpectedly as more people searched for work, Statistics Canada said today.
Canada’s national unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent for the final month of the year, compared with 6.9 percent in November.
That loss was offset, in part, by a gain of 14,200 part-time jobs.
Economists had expected the economy to add 14,600 jobs and the unemployment rate to hold steady at 6.9 percent, according to estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters.
The loonie fell half a cent to 91.65 cents (U.S.), its lowest level since September, 2009, following the jobs report.
TD Bank senior economist Sonya Gulati said the labour market ended 2013 on a very soft note in three ways.
“Not only was the headline contraction in December sizable, but the losses were broad-based across industries and exclusively seen in full-time positions,” Gulati wrote in a report.
The loss for the month brought the total job gains for 2013 to 102,000—the slowest annual pace since 2009.
But Gulati suggested the disappointing December report may be a one-off and not the new normal, with indicators to date suggesting the economy grew by two-2.5 percent in the fourth quarter.
“The underlying momentum will likely encourage employers to once again add to their payrolls, albeit at a modest rate of roughly 10,000-15,000 positions per month,” she said.
For the month, Ontario and Alberta led the provinces lower with losses of 39,000 and 12,000, respectively.
British Columbia, meanwhile, added 13,000 jobs while Newfoundland and Labrador gained 1,900.