(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.

Just Posted

Contempt charge against Balfour logging protesters dropped on technicality

A B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled Cooper Creek Cedar failed to file a contempt application

Developer offers details for former Kerr Apartment site

Wayne Woodward is planning a five-storey building on Victoria Street

Jail time for driver involved in Castlegar road rampage

Sean Patrick Byrne caused havoc on Castlegar roads in November

UPDATED: Meth possession charges considered after car rolls off Nelson highway

Vehicle landed beside the Rosemont pedestrian trail

Kootenay Lake’s first marine waste pump-out opens

Sewage facility is located at the Prestige marina

Disney Plus to launch in Canada in November

Analysts say latest streaming service may escalate cord cutting

Okanagan bus driver assaulted for asking patron not to smoke

59-year-old in hospital with non-life threatening injuries

B.C. sets rules for ride hailing, same minimum fee as taxis

Larger operating areas seen as threat by cab companies

Two hiking families team up to extinguish fire in B.C. backcountry

Children and their parents worked for three hours to ensure safety of the popular hiking region

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

Most Read