January unemployment rate rises in Alberta

January unemployment rate rises in Alberta

In Alberta, the unemployment rate in December 2018 was 6.4%. More people also searched for work last month, which pushed the national unemployment rate to 5.8%, up from its 43-year low of 5.6% in December.

The data ended a downward slide in unemployment in the Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake region, after unemployment began dropping from last June's high of 6.5 per cent.

Stats Canada reports the economy created 66,800 net new jobs last month. Stephen from 7.1 to 6.5, Fredericton-Oromocto from 7.9 to 7.7 and Edmundston-Woodstock from 7.4 to 7.3.

The only region that saw a increase since last January was the Campbellton-Miramichi, where unemployment rose from to 14.7 per cent from 13.2.

Provincially, unemployment climbed to 6.8 per cent from 6.4 per cent in December 2018.

Overall, employment gains were driven entirely by private sector employees while the number of self-employed decreased.

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"Definitely the headline job gain was very impressive", said BMO chief economist Douglas Porter.

"The unemployment rate did rise, but only because of an increase in the participation rate", he said.

The economy shed 32,300 goods sector positions, mostly in agriculture and construction.

Last week, Bank of Canada senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins said the country has been in a "puzzling" stretch of weak wage growth at a time when the job market has been experiencing one of its biggest labour shortages in years.

Friday's Statistics Canada numbers also showed that employees worked 1.2 per cent more hours, year-over-year, compared to the 0.9 per cent reading in December. The trend of more people entering the workforce and either working or looking for a job also continued, with the labour force increasing from 22,500 to 23,700. Most of the jobs went to youth aged 15 to 24 in services-producing industries. The details were relatively solid too, with the all of the jobs coming in paid employment and a slight tick up in wage growth despite Ontario's minimum wage increase falling out of the annual calculation.

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