The number of jobs in Canada fell by 88,000 in January, ending the economy’s 17-month streak of job gains, Statistics Canada said Friday.
The overall number was dragged down by a loss of 137,000 part-time positions in what was easily the category’s largest one-month collapse since the agency started gathering the data in 1976.
Full-time jobs, on the other hand, were up a healthy 49,000, pushing the national unemployment rate up to 5.9 per cent in January, from a revised 5.8 per cent the previous month, Statistics Canada’s latest jobs survey said.
After a record-breaking string of gains, Canada’s job market was due for a pullback, said James Marple, TD senior economist.
“This is a big number on the surface, but so were the gains over the previous several months,” Marple wrote in a research note.
“All told, this does not change the story for the Canadian economy much. The unemployment rate is still low with the economy remaining close to full employment.”
The largest employment declines were in Ontario and Quebec. Ontario, which increased its minimum wage in January, was the biggest loser in January, shedding 50,900 jobs in the month. Despite the drop, Ontario’s unemployment edged down ever so slightly (to 5.5 per cent) as 54,800 people left the labour force.
Quebec’s economy lost 17,300 jobs and the unemployment rate reversed the prior month’s decline, moving back up to 5.4 per cent from a record-low of 5.0 per cent in December.
There were also decreases in New Brunswick and Manitoba, the agency said.
With files from The Canadian Press