Canadian Employment Defying Gravity-BMO Economics

Canadian Employment Defying Gravity-BMO Economics 
- Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC to lead the way; Ontario to improve  
- Still no rate changes expected from Bank of Canada in 2013  
- BMO Hiring Outlook Report: hiring a top priority for business
owners planning to invest more in 2013 
TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 01/04/13 -- With December's job
gains of 39,800 piling onto the stunning 59,300 increase from the
previous month, Canada's employment is not just defying expectations
- it appears to be defying gravity, according to BMO Economics. Based
on the December results and the ongoing trends, Deputy Chief
Economist projected the following for the coming year: 

--  Overall, Canadian employment will continue with its growth, albeit at a
    slightly slower rate than 2012 
--  Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC will lead growth 
--  Ontario will do better than last year, supported by a pick up in the US
--  Manufacturing - particularly the auto sector - will do better, along
    with resources and other service providers

"The Canadian labour market finished 2012 in fine fashion, posting
solid job gains in four of the last five months and driving the
jobless rate to its lowest ebb in four years," said Douglas Porter,
Deputy Chief Economist, BMO Capital Markets. "The steady job gains
hint that there is a bit more underlying vigour in the economy than
many other reports would suggest, especially in Ontario - which is
likely benefitting from the gradual U.S. turnaround." 
Mr. Porter noted that, for the Bank of Canada, the drop in the
jobless rate to a cycle low of 7.1 per cent will raise a few
eyebrows. "That said, wages are restrained and with inflation around
1 per cent, the Bank of Canada can remain quite patient. We still
expect no rate changes in 2013." 
Regionally, fully 7 of the 10 provinces reported job gains, with
Ontario again leading the way with a rise of 32,900 jobs.
Saskatchewan and Manitoba both also had solid gains - even stronger
than Ontario in percentage terms - while Alberta, Nova Scotia and New
Brunswick posted declines.  
A variety of industries saw strength in the month, with strong
increases for transportation & warehousing, construction, health
care, trade and manufacturing. "After leading the charge in the prior
month - probably thanks to the Grey Cup festivities in Toronto - the
hotel & restaurant sector was flat, but that was also better than the
expected reversal," noted Mr. Porter.  
According to the BMO Hiring Outlook Report, for business owners
planning to invest more in 2013, hiring employees is a top priority -
second only to upgrading and purchasing equipment. 
"Over the past year an increasing number of Canadian companies have
made strategic investments to upgrade technology and processes, open
up new markets, and invest in people," said Steve Murphy, Senior Vice
President, BMO Commercial Banking. "As the economy recovers,
businesses are looking to become as productive as possible, and that
may mean taking advantage of historically low interest rates to
finance their growth plans and upgrade their talent pool." 
About BMO Financial Group  
Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a
highly diversified North American financial services organization.
With total assets of $525 billion as at October 31, 2012, and more
than 46,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of
retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and
Media Contacts:
Peter Scott, Toronto
(416) 867-3996 
Paul Gammal, Toronto
(416) 867-3996 
Valerie Doucet, Montreal
(514) 877-8224 
Laurie Grant, Vancouver
(604) 665-7596 
Twitter: @BMOmedia
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