Published: Sat, February 10, 2018
Economy | By

Jobless Rate Down, Labour Participation Rate Up In Windsor

Jobless Rate Down, Labour Participation Rate Up In Windsor

The biggest loss of jobs in a single month in nine years highlighted January's unemployment figures from Statistics Canada, while Victoria's jobless rate gets closer to four per cent.

The province hiked minimum wage by some 20 per cent to $14 per hour at the beginning of the year, a move some economists said could result in mass job losses as employers look to reduce costs.

However, several experts made sure to note that before trying to draw conclusions from the January report, one should consider the well-known month-to-month volatility in the jobs figures.

Ontario had the biggest jobs decline among the provinces, shedding 50,900 positions on a drop in part-time work.

"Ontario lost 40 per cent of the part-time jobs in Canada".

"Market participants are getting schooled in the ways of Canada's employment numbers, and the lesson seems to be that when they're too good to be true, they might not be", CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld said in a note.

However, analysts said it would take months of data to assess the fallout from Ontario's minimum-wage hike and cautioned against reading too much into January's employment declines.

The labour participation rate, or the percentage of the population that is employed as opposed to employed or looking for work, improved by 0.5% over the past year to 60.3%.

Wage growth also received a boost in January, a month that saw Ontario lift its minimum wage.

The higher minimum rate could have underpinned Canada's stronger wage growth. Unemployment in Canada is at 5.9 per cent, 3.9 per cent in Victoria and 4.8 per cent in Nanaimo.

Still, despite the job loss of part-time jobs, Ontario's unemployment rate remained at 5.5 per cent in January as fewer people were participating in the labour market.

Average hourly wages jumped 3.3 percent from last January, the strongest since March 2016.

When it comes to the Bank of Canada's possible reaction to the January report, Alexander noted the "bad number" could delay the timing of governor Stephen Poloz's next rate hike. The growth represents an increase of 2.8 per cent.

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