Windsor area's 8.3 per cent unemployment rate for January highest in nation

Daniel Fowler
February 11, 2020

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls would rise by 160,000 jobs in January.

The pace of hiring easily beat economic forecasts that the USA would add about 164,000 jobs over the month.

The unemployment rate was little changed at 3.6%, the bureau reported.

Across Alberta, the number of workers fell by 18,900 and the unemployment rate rose to 7.3 per cent, up from 7.0 per cent from December 2019. US employers have added to payrolls for 112 straight months, the longest streak of job gains on record.

Despite the brisk pace of hiring in January, hourly pay is up just 3.1% from a year earlier, below a peak of 3.5% last fall, though still above the inflation rate.

January also became the sixth consecutive month of job growth in the region, a series that began in August past year after a disappointing start to 2019.

Economists say the large revision suggests the government's birth-death model, which it uses to calculate the net number of jobs from new business and closings is faulty.

"(It's a) pretty solid number seeming to indicate that the Canadian economy isn't losing too much steam, so a positive start to the year in that regard", said Josh Nye, a senior economist with RBC Economics.

The slowdown in job growth is blamed on worker shortages and ebbing demand for labour.

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The unemployment rate edged up to 3.6%, but that was largely due to more Americans looking for work.

The government will on Friday also introduce updated population estimates to its smaller household survey data, including employment and labor force participation.

Canada's employment picture in January, as calculated by Statistics Canada, improved to the tune of +35,000 jobs. Construction's NSA unemployment rate in January 2019 was 5.4%, up from December's 5.0%, but a decent improvement on January 2018's 6.4%.

The market expectations concerning lower interest rates in March were previously highlighted at 12.89%. In January, the indicator posted a 4.4% improvement as compared to December's 3.8%.

The strong job growth gives President Donald Trump more evidence for his assertion that the economy is flourishing under his watch.

Wages are also a mixed bag. The economy grew 2.3% in 2019, the slowest performance in three years, after logging 2.9% in 2018. Most of the construction gains occurred in specialty trade contractors, with increases in both residential and nonresidential components.

Meanwhile, jobs in the leisure and hospitality sector jumped 21,000, bringing the total over the past six months alone to 288,000, according to the report.

The health-care and social-assistance sector shed the most jobs over the last 12 months, losing 5,600 positions, while retail and wholesale trade dropped 2,400 jobs.

As for year-over-year jobs creation, Canada and the US are now in a tie with respect to both total and services-related employment.

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