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article imageCanada: Unemployment Rate Reaches 6.6% in December

By Bob Ewing     Jan 9, 2009 in Politics
Statistics Canada reports employment declined for the second consecutive month in December as the result of a large drop in full-time work.
Statistics Canada reports employment declined for the second consecutive month in December by 34,000, the result of a large drop in full-time work.
The unemployment rate increased by 0.3 percentage point and hit 6.6% in December.
Employment growth from December 2007 to December 2008 was 0.6% (+98,000), much slower than the increase of 2.2% (+358,000) observed over the same period in the previous year.
From the record low of 5.8% in early 2008, the unemployment rate had climbed 0.8 percentage points by the end of the year, with most of the increase occurring in the last quarter.
Full-time employment losses (-71,000), in December, were partially offset by gains in part-time employment (+36,000). In 2008, all of the employment increases were in part-time work.
A drop in construction, was largely responsible for December's employment decline; the decline was one of the largest monthly losses for that industry in over three decades. This was partially offset by an increase in transportation and warehousing.
Employment edged down in most provinces in December with Alberta recording the largest loss (-16,000). Employment growth in Alberta slowed considerably in 2008 (+1.3%), after increases of over 4% in both 2006 and 2007.
Young people aged 15 to 24 and 25-to-54 year-old men were the most affected by the declines in December, while those aged 55 and over saw an employment increase.
In December, the year-over-year change in average hourly wages was 4.3%, well above the most recent increase in the Consumer Price Index (+2.0%). Hourly wages remained the highest in Alberta, at $24.50, followed by Ontario, at $22.40, and British Columbia, at $22.00.
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