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Canada's unemployment rate rose in January to highest level since August

Last Updated Feb 5, 2021 at 9:19 am PDT

FILE - Statistics Canada building and signs are pictured in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Summary

Unemployment rate rose to 9.4 per cent in January, highest since August 2020

Canada lost 212,800 jobs last month

Job losses in January were mostly concentrated in Ontario, Quebec, where pandemic restrictions shut down businesses

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The country’s labour market lost 212,800 jobs in January, according to Statistics Canada, which says the unemployment rate rose 0.6 percentage points to 9.4 per cent last month.

That’s the highest rate since last summer, wiping out the gains made in the fall.

Financial data firm Refinitiv says the average economist estimate was for a loss of 47,500 jobs in January and an unemployment rate of 8.9 per cent.

Statistics Canada says job losses were almost entirely concentrated in Ontario and Quebec, and mostly in the retail sector as COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions closed many businesses.

Employment declines were heavy in the services sector and part-time work fuelling the largest monthly decline since April when some two million jobs were lost.
Statistics Canada says the losses in January now put the country 858,300 jobs, or 4.5 per cent, short of employment levels from last February just before the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.