Statistics Canada says economy added 34,500 jobs in January, unemployment down

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Statistics Canada says the economy added 34,500 jobs in January as the unemployment rate ticked down a tenth of a percentage point to 5.5 per cent.

Economists on average had expected an increase of 15,000 jobs for January, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

The gain in jobs for the month came as the number of full-time jobs rose by 35,700, while part-time employment fell by 1,200.

The manufacturing, construction and agriculture sectors saw gains, while employment fell in health care and social assistance.

The Bank of Canada kept its key interest rate target on hold last month but left the door open to future rate cuts if weakness seen in the economy at the end of last year is more persistent than expected.

Governor Stephen Poloz has said the central bank will be paying particular attention to developments in consumer spending, the housing market and business investment.

Nova Scotia's jobless rate dropped half of a percentage point to 7.4 per cent in January.

The province lost 300 net full-time jobs, but gained 2,000 net part-time positions.

The labour force also sharnk by 900 people.

(With files from James Faulkner)