Statistics Canada to release January jobs numbers


OTTAWA — Statistics Canada will say this morning how the Canadian labour market fared in January as large parts of the country were on lockdown to slow the rising tide of COVID-19 cases.

Economists have warned that the heavy restrictions and business closures will likely mean job losses last month.

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

Losses in January would mark a second straight month that the labour market contracted after 63,000 positions disappeared in December to break a streak of monthly gains that began in May 2020.

In December, the unemployment rate was 8.6 per cent, but would have been 10.9 per cent had Statistics Canada included in calculations Canadians who wanted to work but didn’t search for a job.

Brendon Bernard, an economist with job-posting website Indeed, writes that a key issue will be whether other areas of the economy, namely retail after the holiday shopping season, show declines already seen in the hard-hit service sector.