Canada Adds 78,600 Jobs in December, Unemployment Rate Falls to 5.7%

By Paul Vieira Features Dow Jones Newswires

Canada's unemployment rate dropped to a four-decade low in December and job creation exceeded expectations by a wide margin for a second straight month, likely increasing pressure on the Bank of Canada to raise interest rates in early 2018.

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The Canadian economy added a net 78,600 jobs in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, Statistics Canada said Friday, which nearly matched the previous month's employment gain of 79,500. Market expectations were for a meager increase in employment of 2,000, according to economists at Royal Bank of Canada.

Canada's jobless rate, meanwhile, reached a fresh low of 5.7%, down from 5.9% in November. The data agency said December's unemployment rate is the lowest since it began collecting comparable data back in 1976. When using U.S. Labor Department methodology, Canada's jobless rate in December was 4.7%.

Market expectations were for Canada's jobless rate to tick upward from November to 6%.

The December report also suggests 2017 was the best year for Canadian job growth since 2002.

Write to Paul Vieira at paul.vieira@wsj.com

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 05, 2018 08:45 ET (13:45 GMT)