The new year saw 43,000 new jobs, all in part time, and the unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage points to 8.3 per cent in January, according to Statistics Canada.
January's job gains marked the fourth employment gain in six months, however, there are still 280,000 fewer jobs than there were in October 2008. Full-time employment was little changed in January, but has trended up over the last six months.
Employment gains in January were driven by women aged 25 to 54, with 32,000 new jobs, and youths, who saw an employment increase of 29,000. This was the first notable increase for youths since the start of the employment downturn in the fall of 2008 and pushed their unemployment rate down from 16 per cent to 15.1 per cent.
The largest employment increases in January occurred in business, building and other support services (34,000), and retail and wholesale trade (23,000). These were partially offset by losses in professional, scientific, and technical services (a loss of 22,000), as well as agriculture.
Ontario accounted for more than half of the employment gains in January, where employment was up by 30,000, followed by British Columbia (12,000) and Manitoba (8,000). Employment fell by 5,000 in Nova Scotia while it was unchanged in all other provinces.
January's increase was among private sector employees, while self-employment declined. Over the last six months, the number of private and public sector employees has been rising while self-employment has remained steady.