While the Canadian economy ended 2012 with several months of solid job creation, that positive trend hasn’t carried over into the new year so far. Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey for January shows that Canada lost 22,000 jobs in January, the largest single month decline in six months.

These losses surprised most experts who had been predicting slight gains. Still, there is some good news in the report. Despite these employment declines, the national unemployment rate edged down by 0.1% to an even 7%. This is the lowest level that the Canadian average unemployment has been at since the start of the recession. Compared with January 2012, employment was still up by 1.6% or 286,000 more full-time jobs.

Most of the job losses last month were in the public sector, with educational services and manufacturing taking the biggest hits. Construction and public administration saw increased employment last month.

Ontario and British Columbia saw the bulk of the declines in employment. Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick all saw more jobs created. Employment in Quebec remained little changed in January.

Employment edged up among young workers aged from 15 to 24. The unemployment rate for this group, which had been stuck at 14% for months, fell 0.6 percentage points to 13.5%.

Despite the job losses, there are numerous industries still struggling to find workers. Yesterday we wrote about 20 career paths with lower than half the national average unemployment rate.


Peter Harris

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