Unemployment rate drops to 5.7%, reaches lowest mark in more than 40 years

December reading marked the 13th-straight month of job gains

The unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in more than 40 years as Canada closed out a calendar year that saw it produce jobs at a pace not seen since 2002.

Statistics Canada reported Friday that the unemployment rate dropped to 5.7 per cent in December, down from 5.9 per cent the month before, to reach its lowest mark since comparable data became available in 1976.

In December 2016, the unemployment rate was 6.9 per cent, the report said. The last time the jobless rate was 5.8 per cent was October 2007.

The unemployment reading fell last month as the economy generated 78,600 net new positions, including 23,700 full-time jobs.

By region, Quebec and Alberta saw the biggest increases last month with each province adding more than 26,000 new jobs. Quebec’s unemployment rate fell 0.5 percentage points to 4.9 per cent, while Alberta’s dropped 0.4 percentage points to 6.9 per cent.

The December reading marked the 13th-straight month of job gains, however, about half of those positive numbers were within the survey’s margin of error.

For 2017, the agency’s labour force survey said employment rose 2.3 per cent for its fastest growth rate in 15 years. The economy added 422,500 jobs last year with the gains driven by 394,200 new full-time positions.

By industry, factories saw employment increase 3.5 per cent in 2017, while the services sector experienced a boost of two per cent.

The survey also found that over the last year the number of employed people aged 55 and over rose 5.3 per cent. This exceeded the 2.9 per cent rate of population growth for the age group.

Among core-aged workers, those between the ages of 25 and 54, employment increased 1.6 per cent last year.

In a separate report Friday, Statistics Canada says the country’s merchandise trade deficit widened to $2.5 billion in November, compared to a $1.6-billion deficit the month before, as imports outgrew exports.

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

City of Duncan sets tax increase at 2.78 per cent in 2018

Previous projections had called for a tax decrease

Editorial: New driving test for seniors more fair than DriveABLE

It does not require seniors to use a computer program

Countdown is on to the 2018 B.C. Summer Games

Cowichan Valley hosts on July 19-22

Mary Lowther column: Making the best of sandy soil

I’ve also heard that adding silt will help sandy soil, but that’s pretty costly.

Business Notes: Maple Bay’s Urban Valley Tees helps Humboldt with T-shirts

“With requests still coming in daily, we will continue making them into next week.”

Could facial scans and fingerprints make you unhackable?

New biometrics capabilities could be a game-changer for those trying to get on your accounts

Coming up in Cowichan: Earth Day Weekend, plant sale

Every Wednesday morning a group of 18 volunteer gardeners arrives at Cairnsmore Place

Driving Change: A B.C. man’s charitable trip across Canada

A Kelowna man, his bus, and his mission for positive change across our country

Case of teacher secretly filming teens reaches top court

Acquittal of teacher, Ryan Jarvis, who secretly videoed teens ‘dangerous,’ top court told

Why a 14-year-old will lead the charge at annual marijuana protest on the Hill

Marijuana enthusiasts have long been circling April 20 on their calendars as annual day of cannabis

B.C. communities await marine spill compensation years after incidents

The government maintains a Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund to compensate Canadians

RCMP say too early to know what happened in Broncos crash

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said collission very complex

Conservative MP wants feds to close loophole for illegal border crossers

Immigration advocates call on government to suspend Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement

Alberta university criticized for honouring David Suzuki

University of Alberta plans to bestow environmentalist with honourary degree

Most Read