Canada adds 66,800 jobs in January, unemployment rate rises

February 8, 2019

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada added 66,800 jobs in January, far exceeding market expectations, while the unemployment rate ticked up to 5.8 percent as more people sought work, Statistics Canada reported on Friday.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a gain of 8,000 positions in January and an increase in the jobless rate to 5.7 percent from 5.6 percent in December.

The economy added 99,200 services-producing sector jobs in January, offset by a loss of 32,300 goods-producing sector positions. Part-time job gains outpaced full-time, 36,000 positions versus 30,900, respectively, and youth aged 15 to 24 led employment growth, adding 52,800 jobs.

The bumper jobs data, the second month of outsized gains in the last three, is one of the last major indicators ahead of the Bank of Canada’s next rate decision on March 6. The central bank stayed on the sidelines last month, after five hikes since July 2017, and most analysts expect it to take no action.

The average year-over-year wage growth of permanent employees – a figure closely watched by the central bank – was 1.8 percent in January, up slightly from 1.5 percent in December.

(Reporting by Julie Gordon and Dale Smith in Ottawa; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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