Canada added more jobs in January than economists forecast, with gains in part-time work taking the unemployment rate close to a six-year low.
Employment rose by 35,400 and the jobless rate fell to 6.6 percent from 6.7 percent, Statistics Canada said Friday in Ottawa. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News expected no change in the unemployment rate and 5,000 new jobs. The actual employment gain exceeded all 21 forecasts.
Jobs data are a lagging indicator for the economy, and the report underscores how falling oil prices may only slowly begin to have an impact on the nation’s employment market, said Mark Chandler, head of fixed-income research at RBC Capital Markets.
“Once you get a shock like this, it takes a while to feed through,” Chandler said in a telephone interview. “It’s a bit of a slow moving train and I think the Bank of Canada recognizes that.”
Investors are pricing in about a 60 percent probability the Bank of Canada will lower its benchmark interest rate for a second straight time at its March 4 policy meeting. The bank cut the rate to 0.75 percent, from 1 percent on Jan. 21.