Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Adds 35,400 Jobs, Jobless Rate Dips to 6.6% amid Rise in Part-Time Work

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada Adds 35,400 Jobs, Jobless Rate Dips to 6.6% amid Rise in Part-Time Work

Article excerpt

Canada adds 35,400 jobs, jobless rate at 6.6%

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OTTAWA - The Canadian job market rode a wave of gains in part-time work last month as it beat modest forecasts and appeared to keep the expected oil-slump fallout at bay a little longer.

But the undercurrent in Friday's Statistics Canada data, which showed 35,400 net new jobs last month, also contained disappointing signs for the economy.

For one, the report found the economy lost 11,800 full-time positions last month. In addition, the overall number of jobs for paid employees -- any full- or part-time worker who was not self employed -- fell by 5,700.

The decreases cast a shadow over the agency's findings that the unemployment rate had dipped to 6.6 per cent thanks to 47,200 new, yet less desirable, part-time positions.

The gloomier details in the report reinforced economist predictions the Bank of Canada is preparing to cut its key interest rate next month by another quarter percentage point. They expect such a move would be described as adding another pillow to absorb the anticipated blow of falling oil prices.

Last month, the central bank lowered its trend-setting rate from one per cent to 0.75 to help offset the "unambiguously negative" economic effects of cheaper crude.

"It's not the greatest type of job growth," TD Bank economist Leslie Preston said of Friday's report, referring to the boost in the part-time and self-employment categories.

"We think this sort of sets the tone for the coming loss in momentum in the Canadian job market."

Preston believes the latest labour figures will feed the central bank's concerns that many part-time workers are struggling to find full-time employment. The Statistics Canada survey considers someone part-time if they work less than 30 hours per week at their primary job.

The coming oil-patch slowdown is also expected to pile more stress on the job market, Preston added.

The January increase, which included 41,100 self-employed positions, helped push the jobless rate down from 6.7 per cent.

The unemployment rate was 0.1 per cent lower than the projection of economists, who had also forecasted a net addition of 4,500 jobs, according to Thomson Reuters. …

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