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10 February 2019, 05:42 | Joann Bryant
Montreal unemployment rate drops below Toronto's (again) in January
Canada's largest province added 41,000 jobs and saw 31,000 more people join the labour force.
The biggest boost came from the number of private-sector employee positions, which climbed by 111,500 in January for the category's biggest month-to-month increase since the agency started collecting the data point in 1976.
It's better, he said, to look at the three-month and six-month trends, although he also described those results as solid in recent months.
That increase - 16,000 workers - was driven by younger people, Statistics Canada said.
"Following a quieter month in December", when the economy generated only 9,300 new jobs, January's figures "blew past expectations" commented Royce Mendes of CIBC Economics, for a modest gain of 5,000 to 6,000 jobs.
The national unemployment rate increase by 0.2 per cent to 5.8 per cent in January.
Across the province, the unemployment rate was down slightly from 5.5 per cent to 5.4 per cent - the second-lowest rate in the country, after British Columbia, where the unemployment rate was 4.7 per cent.
However, using the jobless rate to assess the progress of the capital region's workforce over the past decade is a bit of an illusion.
The Bank of Canada has been monitoring wage growth ahead of its interest-rate decisions as it tries to determine how well indebted households can absorb higher borrowing costs.
Alberta lost 15,500 jobs from December to January, with 14,600 of those being full-time, the Statistics Canada data showed.
In a note to clients Friday, CIBC Chief Economist Royce Mendes wrote the latest job readings were "a vehicle stuck on one of Canada's clogged highways: speeding up then slowing down just to speed back up again".
The central bank stayed on the sidelines last month, after five hikes since July 2017, and most analysts expect it to take no action.
"Wages continued to rise in January, with B.C. among the top provinces for year-over-year growth".
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