02/03/2012 07:31 EST

Canada January Unemployment Rate Edges Up To 7.6%; Job Creation Flat

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OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says the country's unemployment rate rose to 7.6 per cent last month as the economy continued to struggle to produce new jobs.

Employment increased by a statistically insignificant 2,300 jobs.

But at the same time there were 23,700 more Canadians looking for jobs in January, which accounts for the climb in the jobless rate.

The monthly employment numbers were significantly weaker than economist had predicted, and there were few regions or industries of strength anywhere in the country.

Employment rose in the education sector, information, culture and recreation, and in other service industries.

Meanwhile, there were big losses in the professional, scientific and technical services industries, and construction shed jobs despite the unseasonably warm temperatures during the month.

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