Statistics Canada says the economy lost 63,000 jobs in December, the first decline since April.
The unemployment rate was 8.6 per cent for the month, up 0.1 percentage points from 8.5 per cent in November.
The result ended a streak of monthly job gains that began in May as restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the pandemic began to ease.
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Full-time employment in December rose by 36,500, but there was a loss of 99,000 part-time jobs.
Statistics Canada also noted that total hours worked fell for the first time since April as they declined 0.3 per cent in December.
Financial data firm Refinitiv says economists on average had expected the report to show a loss of 27,500 jobs for December. The unemployment rate was expected to be 8.6 per cent.
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