Stats Canada reports January unemployment rise in Victoria, Nanaimo and Canada

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The last time the rate was this low was in December 2008, when it was 4.4 per cent.

To partially offset the declines, Statistics Canada said the economy added 49,000 full-time positions last month.

The shrink in the labour force is primarily within the youth demographic.

A media release from the province Friday showed employment is up 1,100 from the previous month, with 6,200 full-time jobs created month-over-month in Saskatchewan.

The region hasn't reached that threshold since the start of 2015, when unemployment had been too low report for several months.

The employment drop coincided with an increase in the minimum wage in Canada's largest province - Ontario.

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However, several experts made sure to note that before trying to draw conclusions from the January report, one should consider the well-known month-to-month volatility in the jobs figures.

Economists said January's hefty drop was to be expected after such a strong year and was unlikely to change the Bank of Canada's trajectory of more interest rate hikes to come in 2018.

The wage improvements in January arrived the same month that saw Ontario take the controversial step of raising its minimum wage.

Mr. Shenfeld noted that the participation rate in the Statscan survey declined in Ontario, and said: "Hard to argue that higher minimum wages would cause Ontarians to decide not to work or look for jobs".

Even if there were fewer youth, their unemployment rate remained steady at 11.1 per cent. Unemployment in Canada is at 5.9 per cent, 3.9 per cent in Victoria and 4.8 per cent in Nanaimo. Compared with the year before, average hourly wages for permanent employees expanded 3.3 per cent.

January's job losses lowered expectations that the Bank of Canada would hike interest rates at its next rate announcement scheduled for March. The growth represents an increase of 2.8 per cent.

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