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CANADA ECONOMICS: StatsCan Says January Employment at Lowest Level Since August 2020

· 02/05/2021 03:52

08:44 AM EST, 02/05/2021 (MT Newswires) -- Statistics Canada Friday said that employment fell by 213,000 (-1.2%) in January and that losses were entirely in part-time work and were concentrated in the retail trade sectors of the provinces of Quebec and Ontario.

The employment decline was much higher than the consensus decrease of 42,900 provided by MUFG.

The decline in January followed a 53,000 drop (-0.3%) in December and brought employment to its lowest level since August 2020, noted Canada's statistical agency in a statement.

The unemployment rate rose 0.6 percentage points to 9.4%, the highest rate since August.

By April 2020, 5.5 million workers had been directly affected by the initial widespread COVID-19 economic shutdown, which resulted in a drop in employment of 3.0 million and an increase in COVID-related absences from work of 2.5 million. In January, the equivalent number of affected workers was 1.4 million, including a decrease in employment of 858,000 and a COVID-related increase in absences of 529,000.

The number of long-term unemployed (people who were looking for work or who were on temporary layoff for 27 weeks or more) remained at a record high (512,000), added StatsCan.

The labor force participation rate -- defined as the percentage of the population aged 15 and older who were employed or unemployed - fell 0.3 percentage points in January to 64.7%, the lowest rate since August 2020.

In January, the labor underutilization rate rose 1.2 percentage points to 18.4%, according to the Ottawa-based agency.