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DJ Canada Loses 212,800 Jobs in January

DJ Canada Loses 212,800 Jobs in January

· 02/05/2021 09:07

By Paul Vieira

OTTAWA--Canadian employment plunged in January, the second-straight month of job losses, as economic restrictions meant to contain a second wave of Covid-19 infections weighed on activity.

The bulk of the job losses were part-time positions, concentrated in retail trade, as most stores were ordered closed in the country's most populous regions. Offsetting those losses were full-time gains in the construction sector, and hiring in financial services and health care. In fact, hours worked in January rose sharply, reversing a decline in December.

Canadian employment declined by a net 212,800 jobs in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, Statistics Canada said Friday. Market expectations were for a decline of 46,000 jobs, according to economists with TD Securities. January's drop was the biggest one-month decline since last April.

The unemployment rate rose in January from the previous month, to 9.4%, or the highest level since August. Expectations were for the jobless rate to remain unchanged. Using U.S. Labor Department methodology, Canada's unemployment rate was 7.6%.

With the January data, employment is now 4.5% below prepandemic levels. The labor-underutilization rate, or the proportion of people either unemployed or working fewer-than-usual hours, rose in January to 18.4%. That's well below a peak hit last April of 36.2%, but above the 11.4% prepandemic level.

The employment report notes that the bulk of the job losses were concentrated in Canada's two biggest provinces, Ontario and Quebec, as they issued stay-at-home orders and curfews to contain what was exponential growth in Covid-19 cases. After peaking in early January, the seven-day average of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Canada has retreated sharply, and is now at a level last recorded in early November.

Authorities in parts of the country with strict restrictions have indicated they are mulling a loosening of the rules, although no timetable has been set. Canada's vaccination rollout has been plagued with delays and issues regarding the supply of doses, and badly lags the pace set in the U.K. and U.S.

Write to Paul Vieira at paul.vieira@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 05, 2021 09:07 ET (14:07 GMT)

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