The United States economy added 145,000 jobs in the month of December, while unemployment remained at a 50-year-low of 3.5 percent, announced the U.S. Department of Labor on Friday.
Friday's jobs report by Statistics Canada also showed other positive signs for the local economy, including the continuous rise of the region's labour force - the total number of people either working or looking for jobs. That was a 21% reduction from the 2.68 million in 2018 and placed 2019 eighth in the last decade for employment growth. In addition to uncertainty stemming from trade, geopolitics and a presidential election, a shrinking pool of available workers makes it tougher for employers to find qualified applicants for more than 7 million open jobs.
The capital region's unemployment rate was lower in December 2018, at 3.2 per cent.
Although job numbers fell sharply on the West Coast, the unemployment rate retained the crown of Canada's lowest at 4.8 per cent, down 0.2 percentage points from a month earlier. Wage gains over the past 15 month have averaged over 3% for the best earnings stretch since the end of the recession in June 2009. The leisure and hospitality sector added around 40,000 positions and construction around 20,000.
The US economy created 2.1 million jobs past year, after almost 2.7 million in 2018. The Canadian dollar reversed an earlier decline and was up 0.2 per cent to C$1.3036 against its USA counterpart at 8:53 a.m. Toronto time.
Employment decreased 12,000 in manufacturing, 10,000 in transportation and warehousing and 8,000 in mining. Shedding 3,200 part-time jobs, however, the overall figure was noted at 35,200 for December.
According to Stats Can, Ontario added approximately 25,000 jobs last month, decreasing the unemployment rate to 5.3 per cent.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised down by 4,000 from +156,000 to +152,000, and the change for November was revised down by 10,000 from +266,000 to +256,000.
One bright spot was the U-6, or underemployment rate, which fell to 6.7%, a record low in data back to 1994.
Labor force participation was steady at 63.2% and the work week was unchanged at 34.3 hours.
Weak wage growth could in part reflect a calendar quirk. Payrolls in November grew by 266,000, while revisions pushed payroll gains in the previous two months up by a combined 41,000. The nation's monthly average gain in total jobs was +27,000, an uptick of almost two-thirds (+63.4%) compared with 2018's comparable figure of +16,000. But the company stopped expanding its payroll the past six months, as some customers slowed output.