Stick figures

The total number of jobs in Canada was virtually unchanged for the month of December as the unemployment rate held steady at 5.8%, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The agency reported in its monthly labour force survey that the economy added a total of 100 jobs in the final month of 2023.

The result came as the number of full-time jobs fell by 23,500 in December, offset by a gain of 23,600 part-time jobs.

The number of jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services sector rose by 45,700 in the month, while the number of jobs in health care and social assistance climbed by 15,500.

The wholesale and retail trade sector lost 20,600 jobs in December, while the agriculture sector lost 17,700. The number of manufacturing jobs fell by 18,300.

Average hourly wages in the month were up 5.4% on a year-over-year basis compared with an increase of 4.8% in November.

Statistics Canada said overall employment growth slowed in the second half of 2023, averaging 23,000 per month compared with 48,000 per month in the first six months of the year.

The softer job market conditions came as high interest rates continued to weigh on economic growth.

The Bank of Canada held its key interest rate steady last month at 5%.

The central bank’s next interest rate decision is set for Jan. 24 when it will also release its latest monetary policy report.