(Pixabay)

(Pixabay)

Unemployment rate sticks at 43-year low of 5.6%

For the second straight month, the jobless rate was at its lowest level since Stats Can started measuring comparable data in 1976

The unemployment rate stayed at its 43-year low of 5.6 per cent last month as the economy closed out 2018 with the addition of 9,300 net new jobs, Statistics Canada said Friday.

For the second straight month, the jobless rate was at its lowest level since Statistics Canada started measuring comparable data in January 1976.

Economists had expected the addition of 5,500 jobs in December and an unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

READ MORE: Can the Liberals take all the credit for economic and job gains?

But even in a tightened job market the latest labour force survey shows wage growth delivered another weak reading in December of 1.49 per cent — well below inflation.

Year-over-year average hourly wage growth for permanent employees was 1.46 per cent in November — and it has decelerated steadily since its May peak of 3.9 per cent.

The December result follows a gain of 94,100 net jobs in November, the country’s largest monthly increase since March 2012.

In the jobs report Friday, the overall employment gain of 9,300 for December was deemed too low by Statistics Canada to be statistically significant.

But a closer look revealed some important changes.

Alberta, which has been hit hard by a drop in oil prices, saw a net decrease last month of 16,900 jobs or 0.7 per cent, compared with November, as an increase in part-time work was far outweighed by a loss of 36,200 full-time positions.

READ MORE: How long can it go? Economy enters 2019 with signs of weakness

For all of 2018, employment in Alberta rose 0.9 per cent as the province added 21,600 jobs. The provincial unemployment rate fell from seven per cent at the start of 2018 to 6.4 per cent at the end of the year.

Across the country, Statistics Canada said the country gained 163,300 net new jobs in 2018 for an increase of 0.9 per cent, which was a slower pace of growth compared with 2.3 per cent in 2017 and 1.2 per cent in 2016.

Employment growth in 2018 was concentrated in the services sectors, which generated 151,000 positions compared to an increase of just 12,300 in goods-producing industries.

In 2018, employment for women aged 25 to 54 grew by 125,600 positions or 2.2 per cent, compared to an increase of 60,600 jobs or one per cent for men in the same age category.

The report Friday was the first major economic data release of 2019.

The Bank of Canada has been monitoring wage growth ahead of its interest-rate decisions as it tries to determine how well indebted households can absorb higher borrowing costs.

The central bank, which will make a rate announcement next Wednesday, has raised its benchmark rate five times since the summer of 2017 in response to Canada’s strong economic performance. Governor Stephen Poloz has signalled that more increases will be needed to prevent inflation from rising too high.

(Canadian Press)

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons. File photo.
MP Morrison calls Keystone XL permit cancellation ‘devastating news’

Kootenay-Columbia MP reacts to the Conservative Party’s removal of a controversial Ontario MP

L-R: Scott Robertson, Abigail Robertson, Caleb Bernhardt, Vijesh James and Oliver Marsh (missing) took part in the online Korean Consul General Cup. Photo: Submitted
Local martial artists win at online provincial tournament

Kootenay Martial Arts had five athletes participate in the Korean Consul General Cup

Interior Health reported 91 new COVID-19 cases in the region Jan. 20, 2021 and three additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
95 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health, two deaths

Another member of Vernon’s Noric House has passed

It was a quiet week for COVID-19 cases in the West Kootenay. Illustration: B.C. Centre for Disease Control
Two new cases of COVID-19 in Nelson area

The cases were confirmed for the week of Jan. 10 to 16

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Vaccine rollout is focused on health care workers first, especially those dealing with long-term care facilities. (Nathan Denette - Canadian Press)
General public shouldn’t expect vaccines until fall: Interior Health South Okanagan Similkameen

Interior Health focused on vaccinating long-term and first-line care workers

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Most Read