Canadian economy surprises experts with double the expected job creation

Statistics Canada released the Labour Force Survey for January this morning, and it’s a good news report. The country’s economy added 34,500 jobs last month, bringing the national unemployment rate down to the near record low of 5.5 per cent.

The lowest it has been in the over forty years Stats Can has been collecting comparable data is just 5.4 per cent.

Most economists had been expecting more modest gains for January of only half the job creation or roughly 15,000 new jobs. January’s surprising gains kick off 2020 on a high note for employment and builds on the equally positive December Labour Force survey.

Nearly all of the jobs added in January were in full-time work. Employment in the goods-producing sector increased by 49,000 last month, with 21,000 more jobs in manufacturing, 16,000 more people working in construction, and 12,000 more jobs in agriculture.

The services-producing sector saw slight declines in employment in January.


The number of people employed in New Brunswick increased by 4,600 in January, bringing total gains over the last 12 months to 5,300. The unemployment rate in this province held steady at 7.5 per cent. The unemployment rate in Nova Scotia fell by 0.5 percentage points to 7.4 per cent.

Quebec was the biggest winner for job creation last month with 19,000 more people working. The Quebec unemployment rate remains at 5.1 per cent.

In Manitoba, employment rose by 6,500 new jobs in January. While these were mostly in part-time work, this marks the largest overall employment increase in that province since April of 2008.

Alberta saw significant declines in employment last month, with 19,000 fewer people working in that province. The unemployment rate in Alberta is currently 7.3 per cent.

There was little change in employment in the other provinces.

Here’s a look at the current unemployment rates – and available job opportunities – across Canada right now.

Unemployment rate by province
(and open jobs on CareerBeacon)

Newfoundland and Labrador 11.8 per cent [View jobs in NL]

Prince Edward Island 7.5 per cent [Jobs in PEI]

Nova Scotia 7.4 per cent [Jobs in Nova Scotia]

New Brunswick 7.5 per cent [Available jobs in New Brunswick]

Quebec 5.1 per cent [See jobs in Quebec]

Ontario 5.2 per cent [Job opportunities in Ontario]

Manitoba 5.1 per cent [Jobs in Manitoba]

Saskatchewan 6.0 per cent [Jobs in Saskatchewan]

Alberta 7.3 per cent [Available jobs in Alberta]

British Columbia 4.5 per cent [See jobs in B.C.]

You can read the complete Labour Force Survey from Statistics Canada for more detail.

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