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Canadian Service Sector Heats Up As Temperature Drops

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Canada’s economy added jobs at a record pace in January, continuing the trend set with an impressive year in 2006. The push was powered by the service sector, which continues to expand its share of the Canadian economy.

The nation’s economy added 89,000 jobs in the month of January, according to Statistics Canada. This expansion far outpaced predicted gains, as analysts had predicted that January’s numbers would have showed an increase of about 10,000 to 15,000. “This hiring is pretty phenomenal,” said Paul Ferley, Assistant Chief Economist with BMO Capital Markets.

The top gains in the country were in the service sector, with contributions spread fairly evenly across categories. Employment rose by 28,000 jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services category, with nearly identical numbers for the group of information, culture and recreation. Canada’s tourism and hospitality sector continues to boom as well, with the chilly temperatures welcomed by the ski industry after an unseasonably warm December.

The job growth has been strongest in Canada’s Western provinces. At the Western end of the nation, British Columbia added 32,000 jobs in January. The gains helped the province match a 30 year low in unemployment set in June of last year. While in many of the other provinces, unemployment rates have remained stable or slightly increased this discrepancy can be explained by more people joining the workforce. Alberta, Ontario and in particular have experienced large surges in their labour force.