The nearly 22,000 jobs Canada lost in January have resurrected fears of an economic slowdown large enough to scuttle the all-important spring market.
The national economy shed 21,900 jobs last month, according to new StatsCan numbers, released Friday and obliterating a forecast 5,000-plus gain.
Still, a decline in the number of people seeking work effective pushed the unemployment rate down 7.0 per cent, a four-year low that economists say obscures the shrinking job market.
A slowdown in building permits for December is adding to apprehension about the construction sector and any knock-on effect for the overall economy.
Overall the value of permit numbers for December fell 11.2 per cent, compounding the 14.5 per cent drop in November. That’s entirely different from the 5 per cent gain anticipated by most economists.
That lacklustre performance coupled with job losses may scuttle hopes for a strong real estate market this spring, said one economist Friday, reacting to the market information.
While brokers in key markets such as Toronto have seen only a modest slip in single-family house sales, a dropoff in condo sales in the GTA and in many other areas has highlighted the competition between the banks.
The current reality has placed even more importance on the spring market, after a winter season largely without the unexpected boom in business as last year.
Still brokers reporting advancing originations in some markets, specifically on the B side as tighter lending guidelines force many borrowers over into alternative deals for both new purchases and refinancing.