Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Statistics Canada Says 45,900 Jobs Lost in December; Unemployment Rate Rises

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Statistics Canada Says 45,900 Jobs Lost in December; Unemployment Rate Rises

Article excerpt

Canada lost 45,900 jobs in December

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OTTAWA - The Canadian economy lost a surprising 45,900 jobs in December to finish the weakest year of job growth since 2009, raising concerns about how the economy will fare into 2014.

The unemployment rate rose to 7.2 per cent in the final month of the year, compared with 6.9 per cent in November.

BMO Capital Markets chief economist Doug Porter said the dismal jobs data will add pressure on the loonie and stoke chatter about the possibility of a interest rate cut by the Bank of Canada.

The loonie fell 0.42 of a cent to 91.73 cents US after earlier having dipped to 91.36 cents US, its lowest level since September 2009.

Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz has suggested that the central bank's next policy move is just as likely to be a cut in interest rates as a hike.

However, Porter suggested Friday that it will likely take more than one month of disappointing job growth to trigger a rate cut.

"We continue to believe the bank will need to see an extended period of economic underperformance and even lower inflation before they would even consider easing," Porter said.

The December drop, the biggest in one month since March 2013, was led by a decline in full-time jobs, which fell by roughly 60,000, offset by a gain of 14,200 part-time jobs.

Economists had expected the economy to add 14,600 jobs and the unemployment rate to hold steady at 6.9 per cent, according to estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters.

The weaker than expected report in Canada came as the United States also released disappointing job growth numbers.

The country's biggest trading partner added just 74,000 jobs in December after averaging 214,000 in the previous four months. The U.S. Labor Department also said Friday that the unemployment rate fell to 6.7 per cent from seven per cent in November as many Americans stopped looking for work.

The December jobs report capped a week of generally soft Canadian economic data. Statistics Canada reported earlier this week that Canada's trade deficit edged higher in November as imports inched up and exports stalled.

Industry Minister James Moore said the jobs report was disappointing, but the government was focused on the bigger picture. …

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