Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Canada jobless rate rises despite surge in employment

Nellie Chapman | 10 February, 2019, 17:39

The Alberta rate rose from 6.4 per cent in December to 6.8 last month after almost 16,000 jobs were lost. Last month, that went up to 6.8%, according to the Statistic Canada assessment.

Last month, the rate was at 5.4%, nearly a full percentage point jump.

On a year-over-year basis, total employment was up 327,000 or 1.8 per cent, reflecting increases in both full-time (+166,000) and part-time (+162,000) work.

The significance is that had people not left the labour force in the numbers they did, our jobless rate would now be significantly higher.

Employment declined for the second straight month in the province.

However, using the jobless rate to assess the progress of the capital region's workforce over the past decade is a bit of an illusion. The unemployment rate did rise, but only because of an increase in the participation rate.

In January 2018, the jobless rate in the Camrose-Drumheller region was only 4.9%.

The full statistics for Alberta can be found through the provincial government's website. Canada's employment rate, participation rate and unemployment rate were all higher than that of the United States, adjusting for US-based employment concepts. This was followed up by Nova Scotia at 9.9% and New Brunswick at 8.2%.

The latest labour force estimates were released by Statistics Canada Friday, and they paint a rosy picture with more people working in January 2019 than at this time past year.

There was a surge of 66,800 net new jobs across the country, but many Canadians were still left searching for work. The number of self-employed positions, which can include unpaid work, declined by 60,700.

British Columbia, meanwhile, sits at 4.7 per cent for last month which is a small increase from the 4.4 percentage in December, while nationally, the unemployment rate increased to 5.8 per cent, up from 5.6 in December.

The nation-wide data can be viewed through Statistics Canada's website.