Unemployment rate in Medicine Hat rises in January

Unemployment rate in Medicine Hat rises in January

Unemployment rate in Medicine Hat rises in January

The province saw an unemployment rate of 5.4 per cent in January - the same as Quebec.

"January saw an [88,000] drop in employment, reversing about half of the spectacular gains we registered late past year".

"Quite frankly, we were overdue for a bad number".

However, several experts made sure to note that before trying to draw conclusions from the January report, one should consider the well-known month-to-month volatility in the jobs figures.

Wage growth also received a boost in January, a month that saw Ontario lift its minimum wage.

Westpac senior economist Michael Gordon said the December result was stronger than expected.

The unemployment rate for Nova Scotia in January was 8.2 per cent, up 0.2 per cent from December. Others didn't expect the January report, on its own, to have a significant impact on the outcome of the next rate announcement.

"One of the positives in today's release was the fact that wage growth picked up", said Craig Alexander, chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 38.55 to 2,619.55 while the Nasdaq composite index was up 97.33 points or 1.44 per cent to 6,874.49. While the unemployment rate in December was 8.6 per cent, month-over-month comparisons are hard to make as data is unadjusted for seasonal differences that can influence each month.

Employment declines were seen across the field, from low-paying jobs in warehousing, retail and wholesale to lucrative areas of professional, scientific and technical services.

Over that same period, the number of part-time positions fell by 125,400 for a contraction of 3.5 per cent.

Don't blame the minimum-wage hike just yet.

Provincial summary The drop in the number of people employed also coincided with an increase in the minimum wage in Canada's largest province, Ontario. "But the details also looking wonky, with all of the job losses in part-time work".

Most analysts cautiously highlighted the potential connection.

Mr. Shenfeld noted that the participation rate in the Statscan survey declined in Ontario, and said: "Hard to argue that higher minimum wages would cause Ontarians to decide not to work or look for jobs". Despite the drop, Ontario's unemployment edged down ever so slightly (to 5.5 per cent) as 54,800 people left the labour force.

"But proving causality may remain contentious".

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