Canada’s unemployment rate plunges to lowest in 40 years

Posted on January 5, 2018 in Delivery System – FP – Economists were expecting a gain of 1,000 jobs today. What they got was 78,600
January 5, 2018.   Theophilos Argitis, Bloomberg News

Canada’s unemployment rate plunged to the lowest in more than 40 years as the economy continues to add jobs at record levels.

The jobless rate fell to 5.7 per cent in December, Statistics Canada said Friday in Ottawa, the lowest in the current data series that begins in 1976. The number of jobs rose by 78,600, bringing the full-year employment gain to 422,500. That’s the best annual increase since 2002.

The gain of 78,600 positions far exceeded the expectations of analysts, who in a Reuters poll had forecast a modest gain of 1,000 jobs from November.

The Canadian dollar jumped 0.74 US cents to 80.76 US cents.

The economy showed unexpected resiliency as the year came to an end with one of the strongest job markets ever. The figures also indicate rapidly diminishing slack in the labour market that may quicken the expected pace of interest-rate increases by the Bank of Canada.

The jobless rate may be the lowest since 1974. According to the previous employment data series that ended in 1975, Canada had a jobless rate of 5.6 per cent in November 1974.


While most of the new jobs in December were part-time, the bulk of new hires in 2017 were full-time.

• The nation added 394,200 full-time jobs last year, the biggest gain since 1999

• The gains last year were led by services with 290,300 new positions.

• Goods-producers added 132,100 jobs, with an 85,700 increase in manufacturing that was the strongest since 2002

• Average hourly earnings climbed 2.7 per cent in December from a year ago, down from 2.8 per cent in November.

• Wage gains for permanent employees accelerated to 2.9 per cent from 2.7 per cent

• Actual hours worked in December were 3.1 per cent above year-ago figures, the fastest since 2010

With file from Reuters

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