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Porter said weak jobs report in January make it more likely the Bank of Canada will move slowly on more hikes to interest rates.

In the United States, there was a increase of 200,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rates was unchanged at 4.1 per cent.

The agency provided data showing the province gained approximately 8,500 full-time positions but lost roughly 59,300 part-time ones, noting that the figures are rounded. Most of the other provinces also shouldered part-time losses, with Quebec shedding 31,000 positions.

The drop reflected a record loss of 137,000 part-time jobs, and a 49,000 gain in full-time work.

In total, 560,100 people in the province were employed in January.

Despite the drop, Ontario's unemployment edged down ever so slightly (to 5.5 per cent) as 54,800 people left the labour force.

The job market is coming off its strongest pace of growth since 2002 after creating more than 400,000 jobs in 2017.

"Now part of that might be reflecting the increase in minimum wages in Ontario because that increase in minimum wage is impacting more than 20 per cent of all the workers in Ontario".

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However, analysts said it would take months of data to assess the fallout from Ontario's minimum-wage hike and cautioned against reading too much into January's employment declines.

Employment declines were seen across the field, from low-paying jobs in warehousing, retail and wholesale to lucrative areas of professional, scientific and technical services.

NutraBlend Foods announced just over a week ago that it would close its facility at 150 Adams Blvd.by the end of February, resulting in the loss of about 100 jobs.

Still, despite the job loss of part-time jobs, Ontario's unemployment rate remained at 5.5 per cent in January as fewer people were participating in the labour market.

"One of the positives in today's release was the fact that wage growth picked up", said Craig Alexander, chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada. Pay started to increase late summer and accelerated to as high as 2.8 per cent in November.

Average hourly wages jumped 3.3 percent from last January, the strongest since March 2016.

Victoria saw an unemployment increase for the second consecutive month at 3.9 per cent from 3.5.

"It doesn't change the broader narrative around the Bank of Canada".


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