Unemployment rate drops to 5.7%, reaches lowest mark in more than 40 years

December reading marked the 13th-straight month of job gains

The unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in more than 40 years as Canada closed out a calendar year that saw it produce jobs at a pace not seen since 2002.

Statistics Canada reported Friday that the unemployment rate dropped to 5.7 per cent in December, down from 5.9 per cent the month before, to reach its lowest mark since comparable data became available in 1976.

In December 2016, the unemployment rate was 6.9 per cent, the report said. The last time the jobless rate was 5.8 per cent was October 2007.

The unemployment reading fell last month as the economy generated 78,600 net new positions, including 23,700 full-time jobs.

By region, Quebec and Alberta saw the biggest increases last month with each province adding more than 26,000 new jobs. Quebec’s unemployment rate fell 0.5 percentage points to 4.9 per cent, while Alberta’s dropped 0.4 percentage points to 6.9 per cent.

The December reading marked the 13th-straight month of job gains, however, about half of those positive numbers were within the survey’s margin of error.

For 2017, the agency’s labour force survey said employment rose 2.3 per cent for its fastest growth rate in 15 years. The economy added 422,500 jobs last year with the gains driven by 394,200 new full-time positions.

By industry, factories saw employment increase 3.5 per cent in 2017, while the services sector experienced a boost of two per cent.

The survey also found that over the last year the number of employed people aged 55 and over rose 5.3 per cent. This exceeded the 2.9 per cent rate of population growth for the age group.

Among core-aged workers, those between the ages of 25 and 54, employment increased 1.6 per cent last year.

In a separate report Friday, Statistics Canada says the country’s merchandise trade deficit widened to $2.5 billion in November, compared to a $1.6-billion deficit the month before, as imports outgrew exports.

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Pacific Insight to lay off part of workforce

The company says it is transferring automotive production to its Mexico facility

Black belt tests on this week at Kootenay Martial Arts

Grandmaster Brenda Sell returns to assist in testing

UPDATED: Four Nelson marijuana dispensaries to remain open after legalization

Nelson’s police chief has no plans to close them down

Nelson candidates debate climate change at forum

Mayoral and council candidates had the chance to speak on five fictional resolutions

VIDEO: Candidates at Nelson election forum

Mayoral candidates joined 18 council candidates for an evening of very short answers

Great British Columbia ShakeOut earthquake drill reminder

Don’t miss the opportunity to participate in the Great ShakeOut

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

BC Ferries begins taking debit in two-month pilot project

Company is giving customers option to use Interac on two-month trial on select vessels

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Most Read