Blame Ontario Minimum Wage Hike for Canada Job Plunge. Or Not

10 February, 2018, 09:44 | Author: Bertha Harmon
  • 11:04am


Image Credit Canadian Press

In total, 560,100 people in the province were employed in January.

When it comes to the Bank of Canada's possible reaction to the January report, Alexander noted the "bad number" could delay the timing of governor Stephen Poloz's next rate hike.

The January reading marked the end of a 13-month streak of job gains, however, about half of those positive numbers were within the survey's margin of error.

"The data itself, when you look in the weeds, does not suggest that the minimum-wage hike in Ontario is the cause of the weakness", said Frances Donald, senior economist with Manulife Asset Management.

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"Overall, a mysterious mix of good and bad, with the latter's impact blunted by how strong job gains were in the lead-up to these figures", CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld wrote in a research note to clients.

But all the losses last month were in part-time job which decreased by 137,000 while full-time jobs rose by 49,000.

The unemployment rate was 5.5 per cent, little changed as fewer people participated in the labour market.

The region saw its unemployment rate at 3.8 per cent for the month, a dramatic rebound from one year ago when unemployment sat at 10.5 per cent at the start of 2017. The jobs report can also be volatile month-to-month. "But Ontario employs 40 per cent of Canadians", she said.

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It triggered a backlash among much of the business community, which is dealing with rising interest rates, stricter mortgage rules and uncertain trade relations with the United States and Mexico. That compares with December's figures of a 56,200-person labour force, with 48,500 people working and 7,700 looking for work. The growth represents an increase of 2.8 per cent. The current stock market rout, for instance, began last Friday after U.S.jobs data showed wages there growing more than anticipated, raising worries that creeping signs of higher inflation might push the U.S. Federal Reserve to increase interest rates more quickly than expected.

Yet, in most cases, the data suggest the greater proportion of employees with hourly wages at or below C$14 in December, the greater the declines in January.

"It doesn't change the broader narrative around the Bank of Canada".

Victoria saw an unemployment increase for the second consecutive month at 3.9 per cent from 3.5.

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