Jan. 16, 2015 – Statistics Canada is reporting that the Canadian labour market capped off 2014 by losing 4,300 net jobs in December, a slight dip from the previous month that left the unemployment rate locked at 6.6 per cent. Meanwhile, the country’s manufacturing industry lost 18,300 positions from November to December 2014.
Experts were watching for clues that Canada’s economic strength was shifting from the energy sector to manufacturing, an expected fallout from the lower loonie and the oil prices that began to plummet in October.
Jimmy Jean, a senior economist with Desjardins Capital Markets, said he was surprised to see the natural-resources sector add 10,200 jobs across Canada in December, while the manufacturing industry lost positions.
“We’ve kind of been expecting the opposite to be at play with the weaker currency,” he said. “I think it speaks volumes to the challenges still faced by the manufacturing sector. Even if the currency is weaker, it’s going to take time before businesses really start to invest.”
The agency’s latest job-market survey found that Canada added 185,700 net new positions in 2014, with the bulk of the increase coming in the second half of the calendar. The unemployment rate, however, moved down over the course of the year from 7.2 per cent.
For December, StatsCan found the country gained 53,500 full-time positions, a tally more than offset by a loss of 57,700 part-time jobs.
Employment declined in Prince Edward Island and was little changed in the other provinces.
“Looking forward, we continue to expect the Canadian economy to benefit from the U.S. acceleration… so we should continue to see a very decent pace of job creation on an overall basis,” said Jean.
— With files from Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press