OTTAWA – The national labour market saw big gains in 2016 – but unlike recent years the net job growth was propelled by a surge in the less-desirable category of part-time work.
Statistics Canada‘s year-end employment review shows the country added 153,700 net new part-time jobs last year and just 60,400 full-time positions – a number so low it was statistically insignificant.
The 2016 figure represents a stark shift from year-end results in the past two years, when the agency reported gains of 156,000 full-time jobs in 2014 and 147,000 in 2015.
The final number for last year would have shown a loss in full-time work had it not been for a December boost of 81,300 new positions in the category – the biggest one-month increase in full-time jobs in almost five years.
Overall, the workforce bulked up by 214,100 net new jobs in 2016 as employment across the country increased by 1.2 per cent compared to the year before. It was the strongest number for annual job growth since 2012.
The year-end data also showed that job-market performance was different depending on the sector.
The labour force shed 61,600 net jobs in goods-producing industries in 2016, while services sectors expanded by 275,800 positions.
On a monthly basis, the agency’s latest labour force survey said that, overall, Canada beat economists’ expectations in December by adding 53,700 net jobs. The unemployment rate last month crept up to 6.9 per cent from 6.8 per cent.
A consensus of economists had projected the economy would remain flat last month and for the jobless rate to rise to 6.9 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.
Statistics Canada also released numbers Friday that showed the country’s trade balance with the world in November recorded its first monthly surplus in over two years.
The agency said exports rose 4.3 per cent, mostly due to an increase in sales of metal and non-metallic mineral products and record exports to countries other than the United States.
Exports to countries other than the U.S. increased 9.5 per cent to hit a record $12 billion, beating the previous record set in December 2011, the agency said.
It was the biggest monthly percentage increase since May 2008, the report added.
Imports, meanwhile, were up 0.7 per cent in November as Canada brought in more energy products.