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

Judgment reserved in Nakusp school sex trial

Trial concluded today with lawyer’s summations

New Denver emergency ward to remain 24/7

Interior Health says it’s postponing changes to operating hours.

Genelle ‘vehicle incident’ under RCMP investigation

Regional firefighters respond to car fire Sunday night

LETTER: Council shouldn’t impede recreational cannabis sales

Everyone should get to play, not just the chosen few, says letter writer

Kootenay Boundary remains in unusually dangerous avalanche period

Avalanche Canada says it expects snowpack conditions to get better soon

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

The book club master

Nelson’s Hazel Mousley takes book clubs to the next level

Glacier freezes competition in Spokane

The gymnastics club returned home with 35 medals

Remembering the man who carved Nelson’s iconic welcome signs

Art Waldie did the majority of the work on the signs in the 1970s

LVR Bombers fundraising for 3 players

Rugby teams hope to help trio of students go on tour in March

Gryphon Trio coming to Nelson

Artists here for first time since 2013

Festival of the Arts invites student applications

The deadline is January 31, with a late fee until February 10

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Most Read