February 7, 2020 / 2:00 PM / 4 months ago

Canada gains 34,500 jobs in January, jobless rate falls to 5.5%

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada’s economy gained a net 34,500 jobs in January, entirely in full-time work, Statistics Canada said on Friday. The jobless rate fell to 5.5%.

ANDREW KELVIN, CHIEF CANADA STRATEGIST AT TD SECURITIES

“This was stronger than market had expected, stronger than we expected, and the negative revisions don’t take away from that. Most encouraging is that it was a very favorable full-time part time split once again... with all the jobs gained being gained in full-time.”

“Now, it is just one print, and these are obviously very volatile data series... (The Bank of Canada) is much more focused on the real activity data, the expenditure, the GDP data than they are this.”

“We’re looking for a cut in April. We think the economy will slow. It was slow in Q4 and will remain sluggish in Q1.”

DEREK HOLT, VICE PRESIDENT OF CAPITAL MARKETS ECONOMICS AT SCOTIABANK  

“Better than expected. You can poke some holes in it. It was the volatile public sector that drove it. The private sector components were pretty soft. But that might be splitting hairs. In general, I think it’s strong enough to give the Bank of Canada a little bit more encouragement and maybe hold of (on cutting interest rates) in March.”

JOSH NYE, SENIOR ECONOMIST, RBC

“A bit stronger than expected, headline. Looking at the second half of 2019, the job market did seem to lose a bit of steam which we thought was consistent with the Canadian economy gearing down somewhat, growth towards end of last year actually seems to have been quite slow for the Canadian economy as a whole. There were some transitory factors in there but it does look like the underlying pace of GDP growth slowed somewhat, a bit of a slowdown in the pace of hiring seemed consistent with that. It’s just one month of job gains for January, but pretty solid number seeming to indicate that the Canadian economy isn’t losing too much steam, so a positive start to the year in that regard.”

“In terms of where growth is headed in 2020, we’re not expecting all that substantial a pickup early this year because the GM Oshawa plant closure is going to weigh on growth in the first quarter of 2020 and then it also looks like coronavirus will have some negative impact as well.”

“We think that slow growth leaves the door open to the Bank of Canada lowering interest rates. This jobs number this morning perhaps give them a bit less urgency to do that.”

Reporting by Fergal Smith, Moira Warburton and Nichola Saminather; Editing by Denny Thomas

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