01/30/2014 09:39 EST | Updated 01/30/2014 11:59 EST

Job Losses At End Of 2013 Even Worse Than Thought, StatsCan Data Shows


Canada’s job growth fizzled at the end of 2013, and new numbers from StatsCan suggest the situation may be even worse than previously reported.

StatsCan reported earlier this month that the country lost 46,000 jobs in December, pushing the unemployment rate to 7.2 per cent, higher than the U.S. jobless rate for the first time in years.

But new data looking back to November found Canada lost 27,600 jobs that month. StatsCan's earlier labour market report found Canada had gained 21,000 jobs in November.

That would amount to a staggering loss of more than 73,000 jobs in the last two months of 2013, if the numbers remain unrevised.

StatsCan’s two surveys often contradict each other, though they tend to show the same long-term trends. The new data — based on a census of Canada Revenue Agency data and a survey of 15,000 employers — is considered by economists to be more reliable. But it’s not reported on as heavily as the earlier, less accurate report.

The largest job losses in November came in low-wage sectors, StatsCan said: Food services jobs were down by 8,500 and retail jobs declined by 6,400.

The numbers show overall job growth over the past year to be 0.8 per cent -- lower than the population growth rate, suggesting the labour market is getting tighter.

There was some relatively good news in the new report: Earnings were up 2.5 per cent on a year-over-year basis.

On that basis, average weekly earnings rose more than the national average in six of the 10 largest industrial sectors, led by wholesale trade and health care and social assistance.

Average weekly earnings in wholesale trade increased 4.1 per cent to $1,100 year-over-year, while earnings in health care and social assistance rose by 3.9 per cent to $858.

Year-over-year earnings of non-farm payroll employees increased in eight provinces, with the highest growth in Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Earnings declined in Quebec over the same period, while they were little changed in Nova Scotia.

-- With files from The Canadian Press

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