Today’s Labour Force Survey for December was much stronger than expected, raising the odds of a 25 bps increase in the policy rate by the Bank of Canada on January 25th. While the Bank has hiked rates by 400 bps to 4.25%, core inflation remains sticky, wages have risen by more than 5% for the seventh consecutive month in December, and Q4 GDP is running well above the Bank’s forecast of 0.5%.
Employment rose by 104,000 last month, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.0%–just above the 50-year low of 4.9% posted in June and July. Indeed, the jobless rate would have fallen even further had the labour force participation rate not ticked upward as discouraged workers re-enter the jobs market when vacancies are plentiful. Employment rose the most for youth and people aged 55 and older.
Throughout 2022 the employment rate of core-aged women hovered around record highs. On average, 81.0% of core-aged women were employed, the highest annual rate since 1976 and 1.3 percentage points higher than in 2019.
Much of this increase has been among women with young children. On average, during 2022, 75.2% of core-aged women with at least one child under six years of age were working at a job or business, up 3.3 percentage points compared with 2019.
The increase in employment in December was driven by full-time work, which rose for a third consecutive month. Full-time work also led employment growth for the year ending in December 2022.
Employment rose in multiple industries, notably construction, transportation, and warehousing.
Job gains were reported in Ontario, Alberta, BC, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan. There was little change in the other provinces.