01/09/2015 08:39 EST | Updated 03/11/2015 05:59 EDT

Canada sheds 4,300 jobs in December

Canada lost about 4,300 jobs in December, a small enough figure for Statistics Canada to describe the job market as "virtually unchanged."

The unemployment rate stayed steady at 6.6 per cent, the agency said Friday.

Despite the well-publicized decline in oil prices, Alberta led in terms of job growth, and actually added almost 6,000 new jobs during the month. Ontario, by way of contrast, shed 3,500 jobs.

Quebec lost 6,700 jobs.

All in all, Canada actually added 54,000 full-time jobs during the month, offset by a loss of more than 58,000 positions.

"A switch away from part-time positions to full-time positions can be considered a healthy job market dynamics, particularly if workers have been involuntarily part-time," Scotiabank said of the hidden full-time jobs gain in a note to clients.

The December numbers mean Canada added a total of 186,000 jobs in 2014 as a whole, most of which came in the second half of the year.