WINNIPEG — Nationally, there were fewer jobs in January according to Statistics Canada report released Friday morning, but Manitoba kept charging ahead with 1,600 new jobs in January after a solid increase of 5,100 jobs in December.
That drove Manitoba’s unemployment rate down to 5.0 per cent in January even though there was a slight increase in the labour force here as opposed to a 58,000 decline in the number of people looking for work across the country.
That matches Manitoba’s lowest unemployment rate — also reached in September — in more than a year.
“We’re doing well, there’s no question about that,” said Peter Bjornson, Manitoba’s minister of entrepreneurship, training and trade.
Bjornson credits the province’s diversified economy for its ability to weather recent economic storms as well as his government’s long-term commitment to training.
“That’s always been a big priority for this government,” he said. “We have invested significantly in bricks and mortar for training as well as purchasing more apprenticeship spaces from the colleges and putting a lot of emphasis on labour market development.”
According to StatsCanada Manitoba has 640,000 people working in January, 13,800 more than a year ago. Although the province lost 700 full-time jobs last month, the federal agency reports that there were 1,400 fewer unemployed.
The biggest gains in employment in January came in the hospitality sector as well as the information and creative industries.
Russ Smith, the manager of the Winnipeg office of Randstad Technologies, the largest information technology staffing company in the country, said there is significant increase in demand for workers in the Winnipeg area.
“Demand in the technology sector doubled since last year and it doubled last year from the year before,” he said. “There is a huge shortage of technical positions.”
He said his firm is noticing an uptick in recent weeks of local companies making permanent full-time hiring decisions that they weren’t making in the last six months.
» Winnipeg Free Press