Canada blows past forecasts by adding 67,000 new jobs in January

Woman looking through a filing cabinet. GETTY IMAGES  Raphye Alexius

Stats Canada reports the economy created 66,800 net new jobs last month. The national unemployment rate went up by 0.2 percentage points to 5.8 per cent as more people looked for work.

The agency's latest labour force survey said more people also searched for work last month, which pushed the unemployment rate to 5.8 per cent, up from its 43-year low 5.6 per cent in December.

The sector covering food services and accomodations saw the biggest gains from December to January, with 600 jobs added.

Overall, a consensus of economists had expected the addition of 8,000 jobs for the month and a jobless rate of 5.7 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

It was the second month of outsized gains in the last three, though economists said mediocre wage growth and the dismal oil and gas sector would hold back any action by the central bank the next time it decides on interest rates on March 6.

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According to Statistics Canada, there were 18, 873, 900 people working last month across all of Canada, with 1,162,000 people unemployed.

The unemployment rate in Northeast B.C. saw an increase in January.

In a note to clients Friday, CIBC Chief Economist Royce Mendes wrote the latest job readings were "a vehicle stuck on one of Canada's clogged highways: speeding up then slowing down just to speed back up again".

Alberta lost 15,500 jobs from December to January, 14,600 of which were full-time. The Bank of Canada has expressed confidence that wage growth will pick up its pace.

"On a year-over-year basis, the number of private sector employees rose by 293,000 (+2.5 per cent), while the number of public sector employees grew by 62,000 (+1.7 per cent)". Canada's largest province added 41,000 jobs and saw 31,000 more people join the labour force. 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.

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