55,000 jobs added to Canadian economy in December, says Statistics Canada

Employment rose marginally by 55,000 (+0.3%) in December, Statistics Canada said in a report released on Friday.

There were more people working full-time in December, particularly core-aged men aged 25 to 54. Most of the employment growth was in Ontario.

Nationally, gains were driven by the construction and educational services industries.

According to the StatCan report, employment for core-aged women has also trended upward since June and was 130,000 (+2.2%) above its pre-pandemic level in December.

While full-time employment rose by 123,000 (+0.8%), part-time employment declined by 68,000 (-1.9%).

Full-time employment has trended up since June, and was 248,000 (+1.6%) higher than its pre-pandemic February 2020 level in December. In contrast, part-time employment has been mostly flat since June and remained at virtually the same level as it was in February 2020.

The StatCan Labour Force Survey for December, done before the Omicron fuelled surge in COVID-19 infections, showed the unemployment rate was little changed and remains slightly above pre-pandemic level. The unemployment rate was 5.9% in December, little changed from November and slightly above its pre-pandemic February 2020 level (5.7%).

The report said employment declined in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Public sector employment rose by 32,000 (+0.8%), while there was little change in the number of private sector employees and the number of self-employed workers.

Average hourly wages increased 2.7% (+$0.80) on a year-over-year basis in December.

The labour force participation rate held steady at 65.3%, virtually the same as before the pandemic.

The adjusted unemployment rate—which includes people who wanted a job, but did not look for one—was 7.6%, marking the first return to the pre-pandemic level for this indicator.

The number of Canadians unemployed for 27 weeks or more also fell for the second consecutive month (-25,000; -8.0%).

The report was based on survey results done during the week of December 5 to 11, before the public health restrictions were put in place to slow the latest surge in COVID-19 cases.

StatCan noted, since the December reference week, many provinces have made adjustments to public health measures in response to rising COVID-19 cases, including renewed capacity limits or closures for restaurants, stores, recreational facilities, and entertainment venues, as well as the extension of school holiday breaks or a return to online schooling. Similar measures in previous months have resulted in labour market impacts.

Labour Force Survey results for the week of January 9 to 15 will be released on February 4.

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