Job market ekes out tiny gain in January

Fri Feb 3, 2012 8:11am EST
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Louise Egan

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's sluggish economy caused the job market to stall unexpectedly in January, adding to a string of soft data and providing another reason for the Bank of Canada to keep its policy stimulative for longer.

The economy created a negligible 2,300 net new jobs in the month as layoffs in construction and professional services offset modest hiring in manufacturing, Statistics Canada said on Friday.

The jobless rate ticked higher to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent, the highest since April 2011, as more people were looking for work.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had predicted 23,100 new positions and a jobless rate holding steady from December at 7.5 percent.

"Obviously after a weak fourth quarter we were expecting more of a bounce back in the first quarter, but no signs of it in this report," said Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist at RBC.

The Canadian dollar weakened to a session low of C$1.0024 to the U.S. dollar, or 99.76 U.S. cents, after the news. It traded near equal value with the greenback just ahead of the numbers.

The latest data follows a report that showed Canadian gross domestic product contracted in November for the first time since May.

Canada recovered all the jobs lost during the recession a year ago as employment growth outperformed the United States in the last couple of years.   Continued...