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Although Ontario shed 51,000 jobs in January, Statistics Canada data suggest the losses are not attributable to the province's decision to raise the minimum hourly rate to $14 from $11.60 last month.

New numbers show more jobs have been created in Saskatchewan, according to a report by Statistics Canada.

Quebec's economy lost 17,300 jobs and the unemployment rate reversed the prior month's decline, moving back up to 5.4 per cent from a record-low of 5.0 per cent in December.

BMO chief economist Douglas Porter noted it was the first setback for jobs in Canada's job market in 16 months and Ontario was especially hard hit.

The number of jobs in Canada fell by 88,000 last month to give the labour market its steepest one-month drop in nine years.

An extra 900 people entered the labour force in January, the same amount of people began claiming unemployment.

While many part-time jobs were lost, full-time employment grew by 49,000 jobs result in a net loss of 88,000 jobs, figures provided by Statistics Canada say.

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.

"Those looking for the impact of the minimum wage hike in Ontario might find evidence in a 51K drop in that province's employment (all of which was in part time)", wrote CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld.

Economists look at the number of jobs in a community rather than the unemployment in determining an area's economic health.

"January saw an (88,000) drop in employment, reversing about half of the spectacular gains we registered late a year ago".

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

Victoria saw an unemployment increase for the second consecutive month at 3.9 per cent from 3.5.

Still, despite the job loss of part-time jobs, Ontario's unemployment rate remained at 5.5 per cent in January as fewer people were participating in the labour market.

January's job losses lowered expectations that the Bank of Canada would hike interest rates at its next rate announcement scheduled for March. Pay started to increase late summer and accelerated to as high as 2.8 per cent in November.