“Cheers To New Year and Another Chance for US to Get It Right” -Oprah Winfrey

Jobs Grow But Unemployment Edges Up

Canada’s economy began creating jobs again in December after two consecutive months of declines, but it was not enough to keep the unemployment rate from edging up a notch to 7.5%.  Statistics Canada said the unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a point despite the jobs increase because more Canadians entered the labour force.  The pick-up of 17,500 jobs was welcome news after November and October’s significant setbacks of 73,000.  The agency noted that all the gains were in the categories of part-time and self-employment, whereas full-time work fell by 25,500 and the number of employees in the country declined by 13,600 in December. The losses were offset by gains of 43,100 in part-time work and 31,100 in self-employment.  “In general, growth in the labour market is fairly consistent with expectations,” says Benoit P. Durocher, senior economist at Desjardins. “Economic conditions deteriorated over the last few months, notably due to the problems in Europe and upheaval in the financial markets. It is therefore no surprise that Canadian businesses are being cautious in limiting hiring.”

Meanwhile down in the U.S. a burst of hiring in December pushed the U.S. unemployment rate to its lowest level in nearly three years, giving the economy a boost at the end of 2011.  Employers added a net 200,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell to 8.5%, the lowest since February 2009, according to the Labor Department. The rate has dropped for four straight months. the hiring gains cap a six-month stretch in which the economy generated 100,000 jobs or more in each month. That hasn’t happened since April 2006. “We see this employment report as further evidence of labor market improvement, consistent with the acceleration in the U.S. economy in the second half of last year,” says Michael Gapen, director, U.S. economic research at Barclays Capital.

The TSX closed at 12189, up 234 points or 1.96% over the past week. YTD the TSX is up 1.96%.
The DOW closed at 12360, up 142 points or 1.16% over the past week.YTD the DOW is up 1.16%.
The S&P closed at 1278, up 20 points or 1.59% over the past week.YTD the S&P is up 1.59%.
The Nasdaq closed at 2674, up 69 points or 2.65% over the past week.YTD the Nasdaq is up 2.65%.
Gold closed at 1617, up 52.00 points or 3.32% over the past week.YTD gold is up 3.32%.
Oil closed at 101.83, up 2.93 points or 2.96% over the past week.YTD oil is up 2.96%.
The CAD/USD closed at 0.973, down -0.0068 points or -0.69% over the past week.YTD the CAD/USD is down -0.69%.


Sources: Bloomberg, Statistics Canada,  Investment Executive, Advisor.ca