Northeast BC unemployment rate increased in January 2019

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The latest labour force estimates were released by Statistics Canada Friday, and they paint a rosy picture with more people working in January 2019 than at this time previous year.

"In January, the number of employees increased by 112,000 in the private sector, while it was little changed in the public sector for the third consecutive month".

According to Statistics Canada, there were 18, 873, 900 people working last month across all of Canada, with 1,162,000 people unemployed.

The government organization released the monthly report for January 2019, showing Medicine Hat's unemployment rate hit 7.7 per cent, up from 6.4 per cent in December 2018.

Local numbers are not adjusted for seasonality, meaning they shouldn't be used to compare data month-to-month.

In December of past year, the unemployment rate was listed at 4.5%.

Employment growth, according to Statistics Canada, was led by younger workers aged 15 to 24 and the wholesale and retail industries.

Even with the improvement, the January number remained just under the inflation level, which suggests Canadians' salaries could have a tough time keeping up with rising prices for consumer goods.

The data ended a downward slide in unemployment in the Wood Buffalo-Cold Lake region, after unemployment began dropping from last June's high of 6.5 per cent.

The Bank of Canada has been monitoring wage growth ahead of its interest-rate decisions as it tries to determine how well indebted households can absorb higher borrowing costs. It was 6.4 per cent in Toronto. Following a quieter month in December, volatility returned, with the Labour Force Survey suggesting 67,000 jobs were created in January.

In the Calgary census metropolitan area, the unemployment rate fell to 7.3 per cent from 7.5 per cent the previous month. The central bank stayed on the sidelines last month after five hikes since July 2017, and most analysts expect no action.

By region, Ontario and Quebec had the biggest employment increases last month.

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