Canada's jobless rate edges higher to 5.8 pct in January

Woman looking through a filing cabinet. GETTY IMAGES  Raphye Alexius

However, the number of people working also declined as people left the workforce.

Most of the jobs were in the private sector, which recorded the biggest month-to-month increase since the agency started collecting the data point in 1976.

The average year-over-year wage growth of permanent employees, which is closely watched by the central bank, was 1.8 percent in January, up slightly from 1.5 percent in December.

"Definitely the headline job gain was very impressive", said BMO chief economist Douglas Porter.

The Bank of Canada looks set to leave interest rates unchanged next month despite bumper jobs numbers in January that far exceeded market expectations and highlighted the strength of the Canadian economy, analysts said.

There were an estimated 39,900 people employed in the region in a labour force of 42,100, according to the latest Statistics Canada labour force survey released Friday, February 8.

Even with the improvement, the January number remained just under the inflation level, which suggests Canadians' salaries could have a tough time keeping up with rising prices for consumer goods. In fact, 2018 was B.C.'s highest annual wage growth in the past 10 years.

"The unemployment rate did rise, but only because of an increase in the participation rate", he said.

Provincially, B.C. continued to have the lowest unemployment rate in the country for the 17th month in a row in January, at 4.7 per cent while nationally, Canada's unemployment rate was 5.8 per cent.

The Canadian dollar jumped more than a quarter of a cent in the moments after Statistics Canada announced the jobs numbers.

The job growth was led by young workers with those between ages 15 and 24 was up 53,000 last month and split between men (+27,000) and women (+26,000). Canada's largest province added 41,000 jobs and saw 31,000 more people join the labour force.

"Volatility returned with a notable increase in employment during the month of January", he wrote.

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