The employment numbers for January have just been released by Statistics Canada, and the news isn’t good. Canada only gained about 2,300 jobs overall last month while 23,700 new people joined the labour force, driving the unemployment rate up to 7.6%. That is its highest level in nine months.

The anemic job creation comes as a disappointment to many economists who had been expecting a healthy boost in job creation with as many as 25,000 new jobs added. That it didn’t happen is a sign that the overall Canadian economy is still struggling to create new jobs.

Still, we were up in overall jobs slightly year-over-year. Compared with January of 2011, Canada saw an increase in 170,000 full time jobs. This was tempered slightly by a decline in roughly 40,000 part-time positions.

23,000 new jobs were added in education, information, culture and recreation saw gains of 19,000 new positions and other services added 14,000 jobs. These were offset by 45,000 fewer jobs in professional, scientific and technical services and 23,000 less jobs finance, insurance and real estate.  


Employment increased in Quebec by 8.4 % and decreased by roughly 1,000 positions in Prince Edward Island. The labour market remained little changed in Ontario and Alberta.

Notably, while employment in Alberta didn’t change much in January 2012, that province posted the highest growth rate year-over-year at 3.9% or 80,000 more jobs than in January 2011.


Peter Harris on Twitter