Canada jobless rate rises despite surge in employment

The national unemployment rate was 5.8 per cent in January, up from the 43-year low of 5.6 per cent in December.

The unemployment rate in the Montreal region was down slightly in January from the month before, falling below the level in Toronto once again.

However, the number of people working also declined as people left the workforce.

The services sector saw a gain of 99,200 positions, led by new work in wholesale and retail trade, while the goods-producing industries experienced a net loss of 32,300 jobs, the report said. "That blew past expectations for a modest 5,000 gain", said Royce Mendes, an economist with CIBC Economics.

One way to look at it, if the participation rate last month had been 73.3 per cent as it was in October 2008 the capital region's workforce - 779,000 in January - would have been larger by some 70,000.

In a comparison to last January most regions saw their unemployment rate decline.

Overall, employment gains were driven entirely by private sector employees while the number of self-employed decreased.

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"The unemployment rate did rise, but only because of an increase in the participation rate", he said.

"I think it does underscore that for all the doom and gloom in the market, the Canadian economy is not in a awful place in quite a few sectors", said Andrew Kelvin, senior rates strategists at TD Securities.

In Brantford, Statistics Canada estimates that 1,600 job seekers found work in January.

The jobless rate, in Canada, for men 25 years of age or older was 5.2%.

The census field covering oil and gas, forestry and mining jobs saw 100 jobs added compared to the same period a year ago, and 200 jobs lost month-over-month. The Bank of Canada has expressed confidence that wage growth will pick up its pace.

Canada added 30,900 full-time jobs last month and 36,000 part-time positions, the report said.

"Volatility returned with a notable increase in employment during the month of January", he wrote.

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