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OTTAWA, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Canada lost 5,700 jobs in January and the unemployment rate edged up to a two-year high of 7.2 percent as more people entered the work force, Statistics Canada said on Friday.
Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a gain of 5,500 positions and for the unemployment rate to stay at 7.1 percent. The last time the jobless rate hit 7.2 percent was in December 2013.
The data underline the economy’s struggles to cope with the effects of low oil prices. In the year to January, employment increased by an anemic 125,500 jobs, or 0.7 percent.
The jobless rate in the energy-producing province of Alberta rose to 7.4 percent, the highest since February 1996. January marked the first month since December 1988 that the Alberta unemployment rate had been higher than the national rate.
In January, the economy created 5,600 full-time jobs and lost 11,300 part-time positions. The manufacturing sector lost 11,000 jobs while the natural resources sector posted a gain of 1,400.
The six-month moving average for employment growth was 8,900, down from 10,700 in November.
Reporting by David Ljunggren Editing by W Simon