Unemployment rate grows in January on higher participation

Promise of economic growth lures discouraged workers back

Over 100,000 Canadians flooded back into the labour force in January, far outnumbering the jobs available and increasing the unemployment rate by 0.2 of a percentage point to 7.8 per cent.

The good news part of this story is the 69,200 jobs that were created in January, just under half of them full-time. But the growth on the labour force was so large that the ranks of the unemployed swelled by 37,100.

There was modest growth of 19,700 jobs in goods-producing industries in January, led by 13,200 in agriculture and 4,000 in manufacturing. Only utilities saw a reduction in employment, losing 1,700 jobs. Construction and primary industries were up as well.

Among service industries, transportation and warehousing was down by 31,900 jobs from December, but it remains 51,000 ahead of last January in employment terms. Accommodation and food services was down 25,900 over the month for a total loss of 36,900 over the year.

Elsewhere is services, things are looking better. Job growth was strong in business, building and support (up 33,700); in public administration (up 19,900); and in educational services (up 33,700).

Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia both saw strong employment growth. Bucking the national pattern, neither saw much growth in labour force participation.

The labour force growth came in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta. The largest was in Alberta, where the labour force grew by 32,500 or 1.5 per cent between December and January (against a population increase of 4,100 or 0.1 per cent). So, despite the creation of 21,600 jobs, the province saw unemployment increase by 0.4 of a percentage point to 5.9 per cent.

Latest stories