Canada: Labor market stronger than expected, and slowing

3 min
Dan North
Dan North Senior Economist for North America

The economy created +35.2k jobs in December, stronger than expectations of +25k, and recovering half of November’s -71.2k plunge (the fourth worst on record). Manufacturing finally scored a victory, gaining +3.5k vs. massive losses of -50.6k jobs in the prior two months. The unemployment rate recovered as well, dropping back to 5.6% from last month’s 5.9%. But while the headline numbers were firm, some of the details were softer. Job growth appears to be slowing as +247.5k jobs were created in H1 while only +72.8k were created in H2. Wage growth fell sharply in December from +4.5% y/y to +3.6% y/y. Hours worked fell for the third time in four months and are now growing at a mere +0.3% y/y compared to an average of +1.2% over the past decade. The report was mixed, but the headline is probably enough to relieve the Bank of Canada, which clings to an unchanged policy rate while the rest of the developed world eases.