'Robust' Canada labor market 'on fire'

It's good news on the jobs front

'Robust' Canada labor market 'on fire'
Robust job creation in 2017 brought down Canada’s unemployment rate to a 41-year low, according to Statistics Canada in a report released Friday.

“It confirms what we already knew," said Bipan Rai, executive director of macro strategy at CIBC Capital Markets, in an interview with BNN. "The Canadian labour market is extremely robust and on fire.”

The economy generated 78,600 net new positions in December, including 23,700 full-time jobs, bringing down the unemployment rate to 5.7% -- the lowest level since comparable data became available in 1976.

For the whole of 2017, employment rose 2.3% -- the fastest growth rate since 2002.

Total jobs added stood at 422,500 with 394,200 new full-time positions.

Quebec and Alberta both added more than 26,000 new jobs last month. The unemployment rate was at 4.9% and 6.9%, respectively.

Employment in factories went up 3.5%, while that in the services sector increased two per cent. The number of public-sector employees rose by 2.3%  compared to a 1.8% increase in paid positions in the private sector.

Following are the jobless rates in December by province, with the previous month in brackets:
  • Newfoundland and Labrador 14.7 per cent (14.4)
  • Prince Edward Island 9.8 (8.8)
  • Nova Scotia 8.0 (8.8)
  • New Brunswick 7.8 (8.3)
  • Quebec 4.9 (5.4)
  • Ontario 5.5 (5.5)
  • Manitoba 5.7 (5.4)
  • Saskatchewan 6.4 (6.0)
  • Alberta 6.9 (7.3)
  • British Columbia 4.6 (4.8)
The numbers are unbelievable, said TD Bank senior economist Brian DePratto, as he also said the Bank of Canada should take these as a green light to raise benchmark interest rates.

"While risks to the outlook remain and may temper the overall pace of rate hikes, another policy interest rate hike in the near term now seems almost certain," he said in a note to clients.
"The underlying trend remains healthy," he said.

BMO senior economist Robert Kavcic said: "We know the Bank of Canada is back into a rate-hike mode and they are pretty well data-dependent right now in terms of when and how quickly that pace of rate hikes is going to play out.

The Bank of Canada governor, Stephen Poloz, has raised the rate twice since the summer, citing the stronger economy.

Related stories:
“Job-churn” to become the norm, says minister
Hiring soars as job-seekers flood market

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