Unemployment drops to lowest rate in more than 40 years

Canada's Unemployment Rate Hits Record Low

The unemployment rate increased by 0.4 percentage points from the previous month to 6.4 per cent.

Expectations that Canada's central bank will boost interest rates later this month for the third time since July surged on Friday as the government reported jobs data significantly above analysts' expectations.

"Another ridiculously strong employment report that is marked by over 150,000 new jobs in two months gives the (Bank of Canada) full reason to look through a transitory soft patch in the economy", Derek Holt, vice-president of Scotiabank Economics, wrote in a note to investors. The unemployment rate was 8.9 per cent in December 2016.

The Hub City's employed workforce grew from 80,000 in November to 80,600 in December, and its unemployment rate fell from 6.3 per cent to 5.7 per cent.

The overnight rate - which affects mortgage rates - has been forecasted to continue to rise in 2018, but strong December job numbers are pushing economists to predict that the first hike might be just around the corner.

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He expects Poloz to carefully assess the findings in the Bank of Canada's business outlook survey, which will be released Monday. Its benchmark interest rate sits at 1 percent, while the Fed's is in a range of 1.25 percent to 1.50 percent.

"This is pretty obviously one vote in favour of the bank certainly moving in March, if not bringing that forward to raising rates in January".

The unemployment rate in Kitchener-Waterloo fell to 4.9 per cent, but only because of a 2,100-worker drop in the local labour force.

The province added 83,000 jobs past 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.

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