Harper says disappointed in jobs data

Fri Jan 8, 2010 1:58pm EST
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday he was disappointed at the decline in employment in December, but expects improvements in 2010.

Statistics Canada data on Friday showed the recovery in the labor market stalled in December as employers cut 2,600 jobs, and the unemployment rate held steady at 8.5 percent. Analysts had expected the creation of 20,000 jobs in the month.

"In terms of the unemployment numbers today, obviously we're disappointed that unemployment is down slightly," Harper told reporters in a televised news conference. "That said ... if you look over the past two or three months, we are seeing stabilization in our labor force."

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; writing by Louise Egan; editing by Peter Galloway)

<p>Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa December 9, 2009. REUTERS/Chris Wattie</p>