Statistics Canada finds unemployment falls to lowest in 40 years.

The unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in more than 40 years as Canada closed out a calendar year that saw it produce jobs at a pace not seen since 2002.The December reading marked the 13th-straight month of job gains, however, about half of those positive numbers were within the survey’s margin of error.

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate dropped to 5.7 per cent in December, down from 5.9 per cent the month before, to reach its lowest mark since comparable data became available in 1976.

The unemployment reading fell last month as the economy generated 78,600 net new positions, including 23,700 full-time jobs.

Quebec and Alberta saw the biggest increases last month with each province adding more than 26,000 new jobs. Quebec’s unemployment rate fell 0.5 percentage points to 4.9 per cent, while Alberta’s dropped 0.4 percentage points to 6.9 per cent.

Factories saw employment increase 3.5 per cent in 2017, while the services sector experienced a boost of 2 per cent.

Here are the jobless rates last month by province (with previous month in brackets):

  • Newfoundland and Labrador 14.7 per cent (14.4)
  • Prince Edward Island 9.8 (8.8)
  • Nova Scotia 8.0 (8.8)
  • New Brunswick 7.8 (8.3)
  • Quebec 4.9 (5.4)
  • Ontario 5.5 (5.5)
  • Manitoba 5.7 (5.4)
  • Saskatchewan 6.4 (6.0)
  • Alberta 6.9 (7.3)
  • British Columbia 4.6 (4.8)

CIBC economist Nick Exarhos wrote in a brief report, “The books closed on a phenomenal year for Canadian employment with another spectacular result for December.” adding “In our judgement, that should be enough to see the Bank of Canada hike rates later this month, with the employment figures more than enough to offset recent disappointments on GDP.”