Medicine Hat's unemployment rate hit 7.7 per cent in January

Lloyd Doyle
February 10, 2019

Alberta shed jobs for a second-straight month and saw its jobless rate rise in January, according to Statistics Canada's most recent numbers.

Year-over-year, the unemployment rate is up from January 2018 when it sat at 3.8%, and when 37,700 people were reported to be employed in a labour force of 39,200. The number of self-employed positions, which can include unpaid work, declined by 60,700. That's because an increasingly large portion of the population is longer attached to the labour force, either through full- or part-time employment or by looking for work.

The data ended a downward slide in unemployment in the Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake region, after unemployment began dropping from last June's high of 6.5 per cent. He added that he used the word "supposedly" because monthly job numbers tend to bounce around a little bit.

That increase - 16,000 workers - was driven by younger people, Statistics Canada said.

The national unemployment rate was 5.8 per cent in January, up from the 43-year low of 5.6 per cent in December.

The average year-over-year wage growth of permanent employees - a figure closely watched by the central bank - was 1.8 percent in January, up slightly from 1.5 percent in December.

"Overall, it's been a good day for readings on the Canadian economy", says Royce Mendes, senior economist at CIBC, in a research note. In January 2018, the jobless rate for the region was listed at 6.6%.

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.

Jobless rates in the region rose nearly a full percentage point in one month.

That's a jump of 0.4 per cent from last month.

The details were relatively solid too, with the all of the jobs coming in paid employment and a slight tick up in wage growth despite Ontario's minimum wage increase falling out of the annual calculation.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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