Peterborough jobless rate falls to 4.6%

February 12, 2018

Peterborough’s unemployment rate fell to 4.6 per cent in January from a revised 4.8 per cent in December, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

The national unemployment rate rose to 5.9 per cent in January from a revised 5.8 per cent in December while Ontario’s jobless rate fell to 5.5 per cent from 5.6 per cent.

Peterborough’s jobless rate tied as the seventh lowest of Canada’s 33 census metropolitan areas to start the year. Quebec City had the lowest rate at 3.3 per cent

Nearby, Oshawa’s jobless rate fell to 5.2 per cent in January from 5.5 per cent in December; Kingston’s rose to 5.6 per cent from revised 5.5 per cent while Barrie’s jumped to 4.8 per cent from a revised 3.4 per cent.
Peterborough’s jobless rate is also down from 5.5 per cent a year ago, but’s it’s primarily because the local labour market has shrunk and not because of new employment.

Peterborough had 600 fewer people working in January compared to December and 100 fewer than a year ago.

Peterborough’s adjusted labour force stood at 65,300 in January, down from 66,000 in December and also down 700 from a year ago. Of those 62,300 were employed and 3,000 were unemployed, compared to 62,200 and 3,600 a year ago. The labour participation rate was 62 per cent in January, down from 62.7 per cent in December.

The figures are for the Peterborough census metropolitan area, which includes the city, the four surrounding townships of Cavan Monaghan, Selwyn, Douro-Dummer and Otonabee-South Monaghan, along with Curve Lake and Hiawatha First Nations.

Statistics Canada jobless figures are based on surveys adjusted to a three-month rolling average.

Canada’s volatile jobs survey posts biggest monthly drop since 2009

Andy Blatchford


OTTAWA — The vigour that carried the Canadian labour market on its impressive run in 2017 hit a speed bump to start this year with its largest one-month job drop in nine years.

The economy lost 88,000 positions — all of them part time — in January for its biggest employment decline in a single month since 2009, Statistics Canada’s latest jobs survey revealed Friday.

The dip helped push the national unemployment rate up to 5.9 per cent, from a revised 5.8 per cent the previous month.

The decrease was driven by the loss of 137,000 part-time positions, including more than 59,000 in Ontario. It was the biggest one-month collapse in part-time work since the agency started gathering the data in 1976.

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.

To partially offset the declines, Statistics Canada said the economy added 49,000 full-time positions last month. The survey also detected stronger wage growth in January of 3.3 per cent, which also led some to point out possible connections to Ontario.

However, several experts made sure to note that before trying to draw conclusions from the January report, one should consider the well-known month-to-month volatility in the jobs figures.

“The Canadian economy experienced a very large setback in January … but it also needs to be kept in perspective — we had outstandingly strong job growth over the course of last year,” Craig Alexander, chief economist for the Conference Board of Canada, said in an interview.

“Quite frankly, we were overdue for a bad number.”

Despite Canada’s healthy economic performance last year, Alexander said the surprising pace of job creation had been stronger than the other data. He said the losses reported Friday brought the monthly jobs average more in line with the other economic numbers.

“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.

When it comes to the Bank of Canada’s possible reaction to the January report, Alexander noted the “bad number” could delay the timing of governor Stephen Poloz’s next rate hike. Poloz has repeatedly said future rate decisions will be highly data dependent.

Others didn’t expect the January report, on its own, to have a significant impact on the outcome of the Bank of Canada’s next rate announcement.

CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld said he thought it probably leaves Poloz right where he was before the survey results came out.

“This is a mixed bag for the Bank of Canada because we did see a significant rise in wage inflation … which might counter the disappointment on the headline jobs count,” Shenfeld said.

Even with the decline, Canada has had a strong run of job creation that’s generated 414,100 full-time jobs over a 12-month period. The growth represents an increase of 2.8 per cent.

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

A closer look at the January data showed the number of paid employee positions also experienced a significant loss last month by shedding 112,000 positions.

By comparison, the number of people who identified as self-employed workers — often seen as a less desirable category that includes unpaid work in a family business — increased last month by 23,900.

The wage improvements in January arrived the same month that saw Ontario take the controversial step of raising its minimum wage. The report also said Ontario shed 50,900 jobs last month — with all of the net losses in part-time work.

Most analysts cautiously highlighted the potential connection. They’ll scrutinize incoming data over the next few months to get a better sense of the kind of impact Ontario’s minimum-wage increase could have on the provincial job market.

“The concentration of the job loss in Ontario and the focus upon lost part-time jobs in that province will no doubt feed debate on whether large minimum wage hikes took a toll on employment,” Scotiabank’s Derek Holt wrote in a note to clients.

Ontario sheds 59K part-time jobs in Jan. as new $14 minimum wage begins


TORONTO — Ontario shed some 59,300 part-time jobs in January as the province implemented a $2.40 cent minimum wage hike at the start of the month.

The Statistics Canada report says the province shed 50,900 jobs total from December 2017.

The agency provided data showing the province gained approximately 8,500 full-time positions but lost roughly 59,300 part-time ones, noting that the figures are rounded.

That’s 46,100 fewer people in part-time posts in January 2018 than the same time the previous year — a 3.4 per cent drop.

The province hiked minimum wage by some 20 per cent to $14 per hour at the beginning of the year, a move some economists said could result in mass job losses as employers look to reduce costs.

The Conference Board of Canada’s chief economist Craig Alexander said in a note that while some may speculate the provincial employment drop could be related to the new minimum wage, there is a lot of volatility in job numbers and time will tell to what extent the two are correlated.


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The Peterborough and District Labour Council (PDLC) is the central body of union locals in the Peterborough area (Peterborough County plus Omemee) who are affiliated with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC).

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