Unemployment Rates: December 2013

Jan 10, 2014

The Canadian economy lost a surprising 45,900 jobs in December and the unemployment rate rose unexpectedly as more people searched for work, Statistics Canada said Friday. Canada’s national unemployment rate rose to 7.2% for the final month of the year, compared with 6.9% in November.

However, in Alberta the unemployment rate only rose from 4.7% to 4.8%, maintaining the second lowest figure in the country. The Calgary region added jobs in December, bucking a national employment trend that went in the other direction. On an annual basis, Alberta led the country in employment growth at 3.3% or 70,700 jobs.

The British Columbia economy held steady in December adding some full-time jobs; Statistics Canada says there were 13,000 more people working in B.C. last month, though the unemployment rate in the province was virtually unchanged at 6.6% as more people participated in the labour market.

Saskatchewan had the lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.9%, up from 4.1% the previous month.

Overall, if we take a step back and look at the year as whole, employment growth for the year as a whole was a 0.6%, the slowest pace recorded in four years. The labour force participation rate also fell, as the labour force grew at a slower rate than the overall population.

Statistics Canada reported earlier this week that Canada’s trade deficit edged higher in November as imports inched higher and exports stalled. The loonie fell half a cent to 91.65 cents US, its lowest level since September 2009, following the jobs report.

Alberta businesses will be reaping the benefits of the falling value in the Canadian dollar.

“Energy companies are paid in U.S. dollars for their product so when the U.S. dollar is stronger the value that they’re receiving is higher,” said Adam Legge, president and chief executive of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, adding it makes Alberta goods and services more attractive to global purchasers.

Facts and figures about employment in Canada in December:

  • Unemployment rate: 7.2%
  • Number unemployed: 1,382,700
  • Number working: 17,769,600
  • Youth (15-24 years) unemployment: 14.0%
  • Men (25 plus) unemployment: 6.4%
  • Women (25 plus) unemployment: 5.6%