Unemployment hits four-year low. But do not cheer. - Macleans.ca

Unemployment hits four-year low. But do not cheer.

Job creation slowed in January


To recap:

  • Unemployment dipped 0.1 per cent to seven per cent in January, the lowest level in four years, but the decline came as more jobless Canadian stopped looking for work.
  • Employment decreased by 22,000 jobs in January, in a widely anticipated decline after strong growth in November and December.
  • Still, compared to January 2012, employment was up 1.6 per cent, or 286,000 jobs.
  • There were fewer jobs in education and manufacturing, whereas employment in construction and public administration saw an uptick — the latter even though public sector employment as a whole fell by 27,000.
  • The job losses were concentrated in Ontario, which mostly shed full-time positions, and B.C. Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick registered increases.

What the analysts are saying:

  • Labour force participation dipped to 66.6 per cent in January from 66.8 per cent in the previous month, with 57,500 more Canadians abandoning their job searches. That was the largest monthly decline since 1995, noted TD’s Sonya Gulati.
  • The employment dip was to be expected after several months in which job growth outpaced GDP, noted CIBC’s Avery Shenfled.
  • RBC’s Dawn Desjardins struck a positive note. With headwinds from the global subsiding and interest rates low for the foreseeable future, she wrote, the economy will likely pick up momentum in the second half of the year. Expect unemployment to gradually decline to 6.7 per cent by late 2014.


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