The Canadian economy added an unexpected number of jobs in January, gaining 66,800 positions for the month, in the first reading of the country’s labour market in 2019.
Below, economists react to the blockbuster Statistics Canada report, in which employment surged by more than 10 times Bay Street’s estimate.
“Not a buyer of this report. Still very much consistent with the output side of the economy barely expanding at a better than a one-per-cent annual rate. Sell the Canadian dollar on this bounce.”
-David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist, Gluskin Sheff + Associates
“What a pleasant surprise. With the exception of hours worked, this was a solid report. Not only did we see the strongest private hiring gains on record, the increase in the unemployment rate was for the 'right' reason as more Canadians were drawn to labour markets in January, in fact, another record was broken for the participation rate among core-aged (25-54 year old) Canadians, at 87.6 per cent.
While we should hardly throw a parade for one month's data, the uptick in wage growth after a few months in the doldrums is a welcome development.”
-Brian DePratto, senior economist, TD Bank
“We always take this survey with a grain of salt. It had been lagging the more reliable payrolls data over the past year, and today’s reading could reflect a catchup, registering jobs that were actually created last year, meaning we will need to see other data points before assessing whether activity was actually as strong in January as the [labour force survey] suggests.”
-Royce Mendes, senior economist, CIBC Capital Markets
“Overall, while the headline result is no doubt a net positive, it likely won’t turn many heads at the Bank of Canada, not with wages just matching inflation, the jobless rate drifting, and the global outlook dimming.”
-Douglas Porter, chief economist, BMO Capital Markets