Economy Lost 88K in January

The economy shed a surprising 88,000 jobs in January, according to figures released Friday by Statistics Canada, with the losses concentrated in part-time work.

The agency says the drop in employment pushed the national jobless rate up by 0.1 percentage points to 5.9%.

In January, Statistics Canada said part-time employment declined by 137,000, while full-time employment grew by 49,000.

The weak employment report for last month was worse than economists had been expecting. The market consensus was for a loss of roughly 9,000 jobs.

StatsCan said the largest employment declines were in Ontario and Quebec. There were also decreases in New Brunswick and Manitoba.

In Ontario, which increased its minimum wage in January, employment fell during the month, due to losses in part-time work. The unemployment rate in the province was little changed at 5.5% as fewer people participated in the job market.