Sask. tied for 2nd lowest unemployment rate in Canada

The Globe and Mail

The region saw its unemployment rate at 3.8 per cent for the month, a dramatic rebound from one year ago when unemployment sat at 10.5 per cent at the start of 2017.

According to Statistics Canada's monthly labour force survey, there were 5,000 more people working in the region in January as there were 192,700 people employed last month compared with 187,700 at the same time previous year.

In Ontario, which increased its minimum wage in January, employment fell during the month, due to losses in part-time work.

BMO chief economist Douglas Porter also cautioned against "drawing a straight line from the [wage] hike to one month's job move", noting in a research note that harsh weather in January appeared to have hit employment in the province's construction sector (down 14,900 jobs) and transportation industry (down 5,900 jobs).

Even with the overall decline in January, Canada has been on a strong run of job creation that has seen the country add 414,100 full-time jobs over a 12-month period.

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Nationally, Statistics Canada reported 88,000 thousand jobs - all of them part time- were lost in January, pushing the unemployment rate for the country up to 5.9 per cent., up from 5.7 per cent last month.

On the flip side, 49,000 full-time positions were generated in January. Overall, compared with January 2017, employment in the province grew by 104,000. The unemployment rate remains at 5.5 percent. There were also decreases in New Brunswick and Manitoba.

"The concentration of the job loss in Ontario and the focus upon lost part-time jobs in that province will no doubt feed debate on whether large minimum wage hikes took a toll on employment, but proving causality may remain contentious", Derek Holt, Scotiabank's head of capital markets economics, said in a commentary.

Just 1,500 were unemployed.

With files from The Canadian Press. He said it reinforces the view that the Bank of Canada will proceed "ultra-cautiously" through the rest of 2018.

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