Canada's risky jobs survey posts largest month-to-month drop since 2009

By	The Canadian Press- rdnewsNOW staff

Figures released Friday say the local unemployment rate in January was 4.7 per cent, unchanged from December 2017. The country's average hourly rate climbed 3.3 per cent to $26.83 over January of previous year, the first time since March, 2016, that wages grew faster than 3 per cent.

The January reading marked the end of a 13-month streak of job gains, however, about half of those positive numbers were within the survey's margin of error.

Porter said there were some special factors in January including the minimum wage hike in Ontario, harsh winter weather which affected construction and an inevitable pullback after exceptionally strong job growth in 2017.

Although Ontario shed 51,000 jobs in January, Statistics Canada data suggest the losses are not attributable to the province's decision to raise the minimum hourly rate to $14 from $11.60 last month.

But all the losses last month were in part-time job which decreased by 137,000 while full-time jobs rose by 49,000.

For Ontario, some experts raised the possibility of a link between the provincial drop and the introduction last month of a controversial minimum-wage hike.

Despite Canada's healthy economic performance a year ago, Alexander said the surprising pace of job creation had been stronger than the other data.

It "may be a sign of adjustments made by corporations coping with a minimum wage surge", he said, noting young people ages 15 to 24 lost 24,000 part-time positions.

It triggered a backlash among much of the business community, which is dealing with rising interest rates, stricter mortgage rules and uncertain trade relations with the United States and Mexico. The growth represents an increase of 2.8 per cent.

North American wage growth is raising its own concerns, however. Halifax had an unemployment rate of 6.8 per cent in January, down from seven per cent in December.

Toronto's S&P/TSX composite closing down 31.08 points at 15,034.53. The drop in January was the first decline since July 2016, and ended the longest stretch of gains since 2000.

Both the Dow and S&P 500 lost more than five per cent for the week, as the Dow recorded 1,000-point drops on Monday and Thursday.

Traders are now focusing on next week's USA consumer-price data, with equity investors took the signal to mean interest rates will rise as inflation gathers pace.

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