February 9, 2018 / 2:09 PM / 13 days ago

Canada sheds 88,000 jobs in January, biggest decline since 2009

OTTAWA (Reuters) - The Canadian economy lost the most jobs in nine years in January, pulling back after a robust 2017 as losses were heaviest in the service sectors, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday.

The decrease of 88,000 jobs fell well short of economists’ forecasts for a gain of 10,000 and made for the biggest decline since January 2009 when the economy was dealing with the global financial crisis. The unemployment rate edged up to 5.9 percent from December’s revised 5.8 percent.

The drop in jobs was driven by a 137,000 decline in part-time work, the biggest fall on record, which eclipsed a 49,000 increase in full-time positions.

The services sector led the way down, shedding 71,900 positions in industries including educational services, finance, insurance and real estate, and professional and technical services.

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

The average hourly wage of permanent employees climbed 3.3 percent from last January, the strongest rate of gains since March 2016. Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, raised the minimum wage to C$14 ($11.11) an hour at the start of the year, making it the highest in the country.

($1 = 1.2604 Canadian dollars)

Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe

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