Unemployment steady at 8.5 per cent: StatsCan

Employment 1.9 per cent below October 2008 peak
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 01/14/2010

Employment in Canada has stabilized and the unemployment rate remained unchanged in December, according to Statistics Canada.

Following a large increase in November, there was no change in employment in December and the unemployment rate remained at 8.5 per cent.

However, employment is still 1.9 per cent (323,000) below the peak reached in October 2008.

In recent months, a number of industries have contributed to the stabilization in employment. A notable shift has occurred in construction, which had been on a downward trend and is up 30,000 since March.

In December, employment rose in health care and social assistance (35,000), as well as in professional, scientific and technical services (33,000).

The largest declines were in transportation and warehousing (down 24,000); business, building and other support services (down 23,000); and public administration (down 22,000).

There was a decrease of 22,000 in public sector employment in December, while the number of self-employed workers was up and the number of private sector employees was unchanged.

In December, employment increased in Alberta by 14,000, while it declined by 4,600 in Manitoba and by 3,600 in New Brunswick.

Compared with one year ago, average hourly wages rose by 2.4 per cent in December, similar to the year-over-year increase in November but much slower than earlier in 2009. While employment in December was virtually unchanged compared with the spring of 2009, hours worked have increased 2.2 per cent since April.

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