Northeast BC unemployment rate below four per cent in January 2018

Northeast BC unemployment rate below four per cent in January 2018

For Ontario, some experts raised the possibility of a link between the provincial drop and the introduction last month of a controversial minimum-wage hike.

Rocco Rossi, president of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, said the numbers "reflect the concerns we have heard from businesses for months".

The nation's economy shed the most jobs at 88,000 since 2009 in January following two months of gains.

It wasn't just Ontario that saw wage growth of more than 3 per cent. Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia recorded increases over that level, with the westernmost province's wages rising almost 4 per cent.

Westpac senior economist Michael Gordon said the December result was stronger than expected.

It's the second straight month of job losses in the Greater Sudbury area.

"I don't think that the January number is the start of a whole series of declines - I think it's more of a reflection of the fact that we were tracking abnormally strong numbers behind us", Alexander said.

Employment in Canada as of January 2018. Others didn't expect the January report, on its own, to have a significant impact on the outcome of the next rate announcement. The Standard & Poor's 500 rose 38.55 to 2,619.55 while the Nasdaq composite index was up 97.33 points or 1.44 per cent to 6,874.49.

"Ontario is leading Canada in economic growth", he added, noting the jobless rate has been below the national average for 34 consecutive months.

Over that same period, the number of part-time positions fell by 125,400 for a contraction of 3.5 per cent.

In total, 731,800 people were employed in Ottawa-Gatineau as of January, 6,600 more than this time a year ago. It is not unusual to see a city's unemployment rate rise during stronger economic times as more people join the labour because the chances of finding work are better.

The wage improvements in January arrived the same month that saw Ontario take the controversial step of raising its minimum wage. While there were job losses in Quebec, New Brunswick, and Manitoba, Alberta saw very little in the way of job losses as part-time workers were replaced with full-time workers.

Most analysts cautiously highlighted the potential connection. Ontario, which increased its minimum wage in January, was the biggest loser in January, shedding 50,900 jobs in the month.

"But proving causality may remain contentious".