Canada: Labor market surges

2 min
Dan North
Dan North Senior Economist for North America

The economy created +66.8k jobs in January, far greater than expectations, despite headwinds of delayed invest­ment from NAFTA negotiations, the drag of the B20 mortgage rules, and plummeting prices for Canadian oil. On a y/y basis, jobs grew at a stiff +1.8%, the fastest in over a year. Of the ten provinces, only Saskatchewan and the oil-producing province of Alberta had job losses, but on a y/y basis, jobs increased in every province. The labor force surged by +103.7k, the second highest of the entire recovery, driving the participation rate up +0.2pp to 65.6%, and raising the unemployment rate to 5.8%, just above last month’s record low 5.6%. Wage growth for all workers remained steady at +2% y/y in January, right at the Bank of Canada’s inflation target, although wages for full time workers rose from +1.5% y/y to +1.8% y/y. Despite some recent softness in the overall economy, the strong labor market suggests that the Bank of Canada may raise rates at least once this year.