Canada Labor Market Weakens, Exports Pick Up: Takeaway

Here are some key features of Canada’s reports Friday on the job market for January and the merchandise trade balance for December:

*Alberta’s job market is feeling a lot of pain, with unemployment above the national average for the first time since 1988 and a nationwide decline of 11,000 in factory employment centered in that province.

*Did Baby Boomers retire or lose their jobs? Employment of those aged 55 posted the first “statistically significant” decline since 2008 in January with a drop of about 24,300, according to the agency.

*Employment fell by 5,700 and the jobless rate rose one notch to

7.2 percent, yet within those numbers there was some strength with a 5,600 rise in full-time jobs.

*Ontario was the only province with a significant job gain last month.

*Poloz gets the export report he was waiting for in December, with gains in 10 of 11 major categories and the fastest increase since June. Auto exports were the highest since 2000.

*Trade was terrible last year, with a record annual deficit of C$23.3 billion shattering the prior record of C$13.3 billion in

2012. Falling prices for exported commodities did most of the damage.

(Correction from source to show it was the first statistically significant decline in second bullet.)

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