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Economy lost 63,000 jobs in December; first decline since April


Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said 75 per cent is the target for first doses so lifting restrictions doesn't result in a fourth wave. (mbruxelle/Adobe Stock)

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the economy lost 63,000 jobs in December in the first monthly decline since April amid tightened public health restrictions to slow a resurgence in the pandemic.

The unemployment rate edged up to 8.6 per cent compared with 8.5 per cent in November.

The result ended a streak of monthly job gains that began in May as restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the pandemic began to ease.

Full-time employment in December rose by 36,500, but there was a loss of 99,000 part-time jobs.

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Statistics Canada also noted that total hours worked fell for the first time since April as they declined 0.3 per cent in December.

Financial data firm Refinitiv says economists on average had expected the report to show a loss of 27,500 jobs for December. The unemployment rate was expected to be 8.6 per cent.

Unemployment rates for December, by province

Canada’s national unemployment rate was 8.6 per cent in December.

Here are the jobless rates last month by province (numbers from the previous month in brackets):

  • Newfoundland and Labrador 12.3 per cent (12.2)
  • Prince Edward Island 10.1 per cent (10.2)
  • Nova Scotia 8.6 per cent (6.4)
  • New Brunswick 9.3 per cent (9.6)
  • Quebec 6.7 per cent (7.2)
  • Ontario 9.5 per cent (9.1)
  • Manitoba 8.2 per cent (7.4)
  • Saskatchewan 7.8 per cent (6.9)
  • Alberta 11.0 per cent (11.1)
  • British Columbia 7.2 per cent (7.1)