According to Statistics Canada, the Canadian economy shed 11,300 net jobs in December instead of the 4,300 decline reported earlier in January. The updated jobs figures were part of the agency’s annual revisions to labor data.
Canada lost almost three times as many jobs in December as originally estimated, and job creation for the full year also fell short, suggesting Canada’s labor market is on a weaker footing than previously believed. December’s jobless rate was 6.7%, compared with the previously estimated 6.6%. Adjusted to U.S. concepts, the jobless rate was 5.7% last month, compared with 5.6% south of the border, Statistics Canada said.
Net job creation in Canada for 2014 totaled 121,300 positions, the lowest level since the country posted a net loss in jobs in 2009, at the height of the global recession. The tally for 2014 was roughly a third less than previously estimated.
Douglas Porter, chief economist of BMO Capital Markets, called some of the revisions fairly significant saying, “The overall impression is that the labor market was even more sluggish than what we were first led to believe. It definitely puts a more cautious hue on how the labor market is faring.”
Job gains in 2014 were driven by increases in full-time positions. Overall employment grew 0.7%, the same pace as the previous year, but less than half the 1.8% rate in 2012. The number of people who are actively looking for work as a share of the population dropped to 65.7% in December, the lowest since 2000. According to Statistics Canada this was likely because of the country’s aging population.
The agency revises employment figures once a year, usually in January. The latest revisions were more comprehensive, going back to 2001, because they incorporate data from the latest national census conducted in 2011.
Collapsing oil prices are expected to affect oil-rich Alberta particularly hard, which last year recorded the fastest employment growth rate of all the provinces, and the second-lowest jobless rate after Saskatchewan.