Labour force beats expectations, boosted by big gain in Ontario

OTTAWA -- The Canadian labour force beat expectations last month when it received a boost of 22,800 net jobs, thanks in large part to a big gain in Ontario, Statistics Canada said Friday.

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The federal agency's latest jobs survey found the national unemployment rate for December remained unchanged at 7.1 per cent.

A consensus of economists had projected the economy would add 10,000 positions last month and for the jobless rate to stay at 7.1 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.

By region, the report said Ontario's unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 per cent from 6.9 per cent as it added 34,900 net positions in December, including increases of 26,600 jobs in the services sector and 8,200 in goods production. Of the new jobs created last month in Ontario, 42,200 of them were full-time work.

The December increase follows a drop of 35,700 jobs in November, a decline largely caused by the previous month's rise in temporary work likely generated by the federal election.

The report released Friday also contained a year-end review that said national employment rose by 0.9 per cent in 2015 as the labour force bulked up by 158,000 net jobs.

The 2015 employment growth rate was slightly stronger than in 2014 and 2013, when the overall number of jobs expanded by just 0.7 per cent in each of those years.

Employment in British Columbia grew by 2.3 per cent last year -- the highest rate of any province -- as it added 52,000 jobs.

Resource-rich Newfoundland and Labrador was the only province that experienced a decline in employment last year. Its employment rate decreased 1.8 per cent as it shed 4,300 jobs. For 2015, the provincial unemployment rate rose 2.6 percentage points to 14.4 per cent.

The year-end data says employment fell by 6.8 per cent in the battered natural resources industry following the sharp slide in commodity prices. The manufacturing sector, which was expected to benefit from the lower dollar, increased by 2.1 per cent in 2015.

Statistics Canada also released seasonally adjusted, three-month moving average unemployment rates for major cities but cautions the figures may fluctuate widely because they are based on small statistical samples. (Previous month in brackets.)

  • St. John's, N.L. 6.4 per cent (6.2)
  • Halifax 6.2 (6.1)
  • Moncton, N.B. 6.2 (5.8)
  • Saint John, N.B. 7.7 (7.3)
  • Saguenay, Que. 7.5 (7.6)
  • Quebec 4.9 (4.8)
  • Sherbrooke, Que. 6.6 (6.3)
  • Trois-Rivieres, Que. 7.3 (6.9)
  • Montreal 8.7 (8.6)
  • Gatineau, Que. 6.1 (6.4)
  • Ottawa 6.3 (6.3)
  • Kingston, Ont. 6.5 (6.7)
  • Peterborough, Ont. 7.6 (8.6)
  • Oshawa, Ont. 7.0 (7.8)
  • Toronto 7.0 (7.0)
  • Hamilton, Ont. 5.9 (6.0)
  • St. Catharines-Niagara, Ont. 8.0 (7.8)
  • Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Ont. 6.4 (5.9)
  • Brantford, Ont. 4.9 (5.4)
  • Guelph, Ont. 4.2 (4.2)
  • London, Ont. 6.2 (6.8)
  • Windsor, Ont. 9.7 (10.0)
  • Barrie, Ont. 6.4 (6.1)
  • Sudbury, Ont. 8.4 (8.2)
  • Thunder Bay, Ont. 5.7 (5.3)
  • Winnipeg 6.1 (5.7)
  • Regina 4.1 (4.0)
  • Saskatoon 6.4 (6.1)
  • Calgary 7.0 (6.9)
  • Edmonton 6.2 (6.1)
  • Kelowna, B.C. 6.7 (6.2)
  • Abbotsford, B.C. 7.6 (7.2)
  • Vancouver 5.7 (5.8)
  • Victoria 6.1 (6.3)


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