The expectations were wrong. Recovery is not imminent. Economic sentiment took another beating when labour numbers from both the US and Canada showed mounting losses across the board. The American jobless rate remained at 10%, whereas their Canadian counterparts stayed at around 8.5%. Overall, the numbers for December and last year’s 2009 figures aren’t good.

The bad news will make economists and markets re-think the timing of the so-called ‘economic recovery’ in both countries. Canada lost 2,600 jobs in December, after creating positions in three out of the four past months, Bloomberg expected Canada to create 20,000 new jobs in December.

The labour market remains 323,000 jobs below the peak hit in October 2008. Last month’s job losses came after employers created 79,100 jobs in November. The bad news also suggests employers in both countries will continue to delay their plans to hire more workers. Key markets to loose in Canada were the transportation and public administration offset gains in health care and social assistance. Self-employment continued to grow, and employment among women aged 25 to 54 tumbled by 24,000. Youth joblessness continued to swell, hitting 16.1 per cent from 15.9 per cent a month earlier.

Among sectors, transportation and warehousing last month lost 24,000 jobs, and business, building and other support services posted losses of 23,000. Public administration shed 22,000 positions and finance, insurance, real estate and leasing cut 17,000 jobs in December. Factories also shed jobs.

Employment continued to climb in health care and social assistance, with 35,000 new jobs, one of the few since late 2008.

A similar story played out South of the border where job losses increased higher than expected.

December’s labor market data, nonfarm payroll employment in the USA was down (-85,000). For the entire year of 2009, payroll employment declined by 4.2 million, and the American jobless rate increased by 2.6 percentage points.

In December, job losses continued in construction, manufacturing, and wholesale trade, while employment continued to rise in temporary help services and health care. Construction employment also fell by 53,000, losing 934,000 jobs over the year. The manufacturing sector also lost in December (-27,000), although average monthly job losses in the second half
of 2009 were about one-fourth as large as those in the first half of the year.

The employment-population ratio, at 58.2 percent in December, declined by 0.3 percentage point over the month and by 2.7 percentage points over the year. The number of discouraged
workers rose over the year by 287,000, to 929,000 in December (not seasonally adjusted). -BLS