Sask. unemployment second-lowest in country: Stats Canada

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Although Ontario shed 51,000 jobs in January, Statistics Canada data suggest the losses are not attributable to the province's decision to raise the minimum hourly rate to $14 from $11.60 last month.

The Canadian economy lost the most jobs in nine years in January, pulling back after a robust 2017 and solidifying expectations the Bank of Canada will hold interest rates steady next month.

The unemployment rate in Cape Breton increased by 0.6 per cent from December where it stood at 13.7 per cent.

As well there were 6200 full-time jobs created month-over-month.

To partially offset the declines, Statistics Canada said the economy added 49,000 full-time positions last month. "But the details also looking wonky, with all of the job losses in part-time work".

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In January 2017, the island's labour force consisted of 54,800 people with 47,100 employed and 7,700 unemployed.

Canada racked up strong employment gains past year, creating more than 400,000 jobs and setting the fastest pace of growth since 2002.

The largest employment declines were in Ontario and Quebec.

"The numbers that we're seeing this month. are part of a national trend", he told reporters.

The unemployment rate in Kitchener-Waterloo fell to 5.1 per cent, but only because of 2,600 drop in the local labour force.

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"We will want to see a few more months of data to judge whether there has been an impact from the minimum-wage hike", said Josh Nye, economist with RBC.

In Ontario the jobless rate fell to 5.5 per cent from 5.6 per cent in December. 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. That number is tied with Quebec for second-lowest in the country, behind the national average of 5.9 per cent.

Others didn't expect the January report, on its own, to have a significant impact on the outcome of the Bank of Canada's next rate announcement.

It wasn't just Ontario that saw wage growth of more than 3 per cent. Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia recorded increases over that level, with the westernmost province's wages rising almost 4 per cent.

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