The number of jobs in Canada fell by 88,000 in January, ending the economy's 17-month streak of job gains, Statistics Canada said Friday.
Despite the dip, year-over-year, employment grew by 289,000 or 1.6 per cent.
This is also the lowest January unemployment rate recorded since 2001.
In total, 731,800 people were employed in Ottawa-Gatineau as of January, 6,600 more than this time a year ago.
"Although employment virtually unchanged during the month, there were fewer people searching for work", said Fields, noting there were 6,000 fewer youth in the labour force last month compared to January 2017. It is not unusual to see a city's unemployment rate rise during stronger economic times as more people join the labour because the chances of finding work are better.
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The overall number was dragged down by a loss of 137,000 part-time positions in what was easily the category's largest one-month collapse since the agency started gathering the data in 1976.
Despite the increase in unemployment, the Montreal region added more than 11,000 jobs between December and January.
Full-time jobs, on the other hand, were up a healthy 49,000, pushing the national unemployment rate up to 5.9 per cent in January, from a revised 5.8 per cent the previous month, Statistics Canada's latest jobs survey said.
Sudbury's poor job performance in recent months is likely related to some extent on the fact Vale closed Coleman Mine in November to fix a ventilation compartment.
The weak employment report for last month was worse than economists had been expecting.
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A closer look at the numbers revealed that the number of paid employee positions also experienced a significant loss last month by shedding 112,000 positions. She cited the full-time job gain, faster wages and a low unemployment rate as signs of a resilient labor market.
Canada shed a net 88,000 jobs during the month, a sharp stop to a recent stellar performance that saw 2017 produce the biggest increase in jobs since 2002.
Average hourly wages jumped 3.3 per cent from last January, the strongest since March 2016.
The largest employment declines came in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Manitoba.
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