Unemployment rate drops to 5.7%, reaches lowest mark in more than 40 years

December reading marked the 13th-straight month of job gains

The unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in more than 40 years as Canada closed out a calendar year that saw it produce jobs at a pace not seen since 2002.

Statistics Canada reported Friday that the unemployment rate dropped to 5.7 per cent in December, down from 5.9 per cent the month before, to reach its lowest mark since comparable data became available in 1976.

In December 2016, the unemployment rate was 6.9 per cent, the report said. The last time the jobless rate was 5.8 per cent was October 2007.

The unemployment reading fell last month as the economy generated 78,600 net new positions, including 23,700 full-time jobs.

By region, Quebec and Alberta saw the biggest increases last month with each province adding more than 26,000 new jobs. Quebec’s unemployment rate fell 0.5 percentage points to 4.9 per cent, while Alberta’s dropped 0.4 percentage points to 6.9 per cent.

The December reading marked the 13th-straight month of job gains, however, about half of those positive numbers were within the survey’s margin of error.

For 2017, the agency’s labour force survey said employment rose 2.3 per cent for its fastest growth rate in 15 years. The economy added 422,500 jobs last year with the gains driven by 394,200 new full-time positions.

By industry, factories saw employment increase 3.5 per cent in 2017, while the services sector experienced a boost of two per cent.

The survey also found that over the last year the number of employed people aged 55 and over rose 5.3 per cent. This exceeded the 2.9 per cent rate of population growth for the age group.

Among core-aged workers, those between the ages of 25 and 54, employment increased 1.6 per cent last year.

In a separate report Friday, Statistics Canada says the country’s merchandise trade deficit widened to $2.5 billion in November, compared to a $1.6-billion deficit the month before, as imports outgrew exports.

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Reel Reviews: The Commuter arrives, but The Post delivers

We say, “The Post is taut and electric. The Commuter is clever.”

Tychonik continues scoring run

Vees chalk up another win with Pink in the Rink

Mamas for Mamas founder survives with new lease on life

Kelowna’s Shannon Christensen escaped a dangerous situation and lived to tell about it

Brentley’s journey with autism

A three-year-old Penticton boy has a new direction in life

Gas thieves using spigots to help themselves again and again

Gas thieves drilling holes in vehicle tanks and inserting spigots or screws

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Coquihalla drivers prepare for snow

Wintry conditions persist, with snow warnings for Coquihalla

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Most Read