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.
The 88,000 job decrease fell well short of economists' forecasts for a gain of 10,000 and was the biggest decline since January 2009 when the economy was dealing with the global financial crisis, Statistics Canada said on Friday.
Economists said January's hefty drop was to be expected after such a strong year and was unlikely to change the Bank of Canada's trajectory of more interest rate hikes to come in 2018.
"We also need to watch to see if our community is affected by the loss of part-time work like elsewhere in Ontario". They'll scrutinize incoming data over the next few months to get a better sense of the kind of impact Ontario's minimum-wage increase could have on the provincial job market.
"It's good to see the local job market has remained healthy and most signs point to that continuing, as we know employers are looking for people", Jill Halyk, executive director of the Workforce Planning Board of Grand Erie, said Friday.
Ontario employment grew by 180,000 past year and the province's unemployment rate still matches the lowest since 2000.
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Ontario lost 59,300 part-time positions and created 8,500 full-time spots. The rate bumped up to 60.1 per cent after spending most of 2017 below 60 per cent.
The hike was driven by an increase to the labour force and the number of people claiming unemployment.
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.
Wage growth also received a boost in January, a month that saw Ontario lift its minimum wage. Thomas unemployment rate ends 2017 at 6.2% .
Victoria saw an unemployment increase for the second consecutive month at 3.9 per cent from 3.5. Pay started to increase late summer and accelerated to as high as 2.8 per cent in November. The survey also detected stronger wage growth in January of 3.3 per cent, which also led some to point out possible connections to Ontario.
January's job losses lowered expectations that the Bank of Canada would hike interest rates at its next rate announcement scheduled for March.