More jobs created in Saskatchewan: Stats Canada

CANADIAN UNEMPLOYMENT IN JANUARY

A strong labour market, like the one Canada has seen in recent months, generally invites more people to rejoin the labour force and apply for jobs.

The largest employment declines came in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Manitoba.

It "may be a sign of adjustments made by corporations coping with a minimum wage surge", he said, noting young people ages 15 to 24 lost 24,000 part-time positions.

The province lost around 5,100 part-time positions but added 6,200 full-time positions. The loss reflects a record loss of 137,000 part-time jobs and a gain of 49,000 full-time jobs.

The number employed dropped by 51,000 but all the declines were in part-time jobs. Ms. Donald said Ontario's losses were proportional to the economy.

There was little change in Ontario's jobless rate. "But Ontario employs 40 per cent of Canadians", she said.

Locally, while Prince Albert's unemployment rate was down to 8.4 per cent from 8.7 the year prior, a number of factors contributed to this.

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Some have already criticized the increase as being too fast, noting it may be hard for small business owners to adapt to the increased labour costs.

However, analysts said it would take months of data to assess the fallout from Ontario's minimum-wage hike and cautioned against reading too much into January's employment declines. However, about half of those positive numbers were within the survey's margin of error.

The 59,000 figure is a "whopping" one, said Matthieu Arseneau, senior economist at National Bank Financial Markets, in a note.

The unemployment rate in Cape Breton increased by 0.6 per cent from December where it stood at 13.7 per cent.

Ontario hiked minimum wage by some 20 per cent to $14 per hour at the beginning of the year, a move some economists said could result in mass job losses as employers look to reduce costs.

The higher minimum rate could have underpinned Canada's stronger wage growth. Unemployment in Canada is at 5.9 per cent, 3.9 per cent in Victoria and 4.8 per cent in Nanaimo.

For most of a year ago, wage growth was sluggish even though employers were on a hiring spree. The growth represents an increase of 2.8 per cent. Some research has suggested a reduction in hours or jobs follow mandated wage bumps, while other studies suggest no long-term connection between wage increases and dips in employment rates.

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