When will the Bank of Canada hike rates next? Experts weigh in

Canada's Unemployment Rate Hits Record Low

When will the Bank of Canada hike rates next? Experts weigh in

The unemployment rate in December was 9.8 per cent.

26,000 mostly full-time jobs were created in Alberta last month dropping the unemployment rate to 6.9 per cent.

"The gains in 2017 were nearly all in full-time work, and were mainly in health care and social assistance; construction; and finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing", Stats Canada noted in its survey.

In domestic data, producer prices rose by 1.4 per cent in November from October, on higher prices for energy and petroleum products, Statistics Canada said.

The region finished the year with 4.6 per cent unemployment in December, down from 10.5 per cent at the end of 2016 and the start of the year, according to Statistic Canada's Labour Force Survey released January 5.

In the 12 months to December, employment increased by 3.5 per cent in the goods-producing sector and by 2 per cent in the services-producing sector, according to Statistics Canada.

Several analysts said Friday's solid labour report might be enough to encourage Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz to introduce another interest-rate hike later this month.

"It looks like as much as Canadian economic growth has softened a little bit over the second half of the year, the labour market is just still rolling right on", said BMO senior economist Robert Kavcic. "We think that they'll wait and see what the outcome is of some of the trade talks". Quebec's unemployment rate fell 0.5 percentage points to 4.9 per cent, while Alberta's dropped 0.4 percentage points to 6.9 per cent. The work force last December included 2.32 million workers compared with 2.27 in December 2016.

All but one of Canada's six biggest commercial lenders now say the central bank will raise interest rates this month after the jobless rate dropped to its lowest in modern records.

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