Employment in Ottawa’s public administration sector continued its free fall last month, contributing to a year-over-year decrease in the number of people who were working in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.
There were 140,900 people employed in the public administration sector – which includes those working for the federal government – in January, according to numbers released Friday by Statistics Canada.
That’s a decrease from the 158,500 people working in the sector during the same month in 2013.
However, those job losses were largely offset by an increase in the number of people working in the category that includes the region’s high-tech sector. The information and communication technology category increased to 57,500 from 41,300 a year ago.
Overall, the number of jobs in Ottawa-Gatineau clocked in at 702,500 in January, a drop from the 713,500 people who were working during the same month a year earlier. The unemployment rate was steady at 6.4 per cent.
The month-over-month numbers told a different story.
The January numbers were an increase when compared with December, when 697,000 people were working. However, the unemployment rate increased from 6.2 per cent.
Several other sectors contributed to the year-over-year decrease.
Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing fell to 31,000 from 38,800 while construction dropped to 34,600 from 41,500 last year.
Health care and social assistance grew to 93,500 in January, a jump from 79,600 the year before. Professional, scientific and technical services increased to 83,900 from 74,800.
Job gains took place on both sides of the Ottawa River.
Gatineau increased its employment numbers to 172,300 in January from 170,000 the month before. There were 530,200 people working in Ottawa compared with 527,000 in December.
Nationally, Statistics Canada said the Canadian economy gained 29,400 jobs in January and the unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage points as the number of full-time jobs increased.
Canada's national unemployment rate slid to 7.0 per cent for the first month of the year, compared with 7.2 per cent in December.
Statistics Canada says the gain was fuelled by a rise in full-time work, including 15,000 more people employed in transportation and warehousing and an increase in self-employed workers.
The increase was offset by 25,000 fewer people working in business, building and other support services, as well as 16,000 fewer employees in public administration.
The labour force participation rate – the proportion of people either employed or underemployed and actively looking for work – was 66.3 per cent, compared with 66.4 per cent in December.
Meanwhile, the employment rate or proportion of the working-age population actually working was 61.6 per cent, unchanged from a month earlier.
–With files from The Canadian Press.