There were more people of working age in Saskatchewan in January 2018 compared with January 2017, but there were fewer people looking for jobs, according to seasonably adjusted numbers by Statistics Canada.

Saskatchewan's working age population saw a boost of about 8,200 people in those 12 months, but the labour force declined by 4,800 in the same time frame.

The shrink in the labour force is primarily within the youth demographic. There were 1,300 fewer adults looking for work.

"It looks like in Saskatchewan ... about 88 per cent of them say that they did not work and that's it — they just didn't want work," said Andrew Fields, labour market analyst with Statistics Canada, about folks between the age of 25 and 64.

Reasons for not wanting to work include caring for family or going to school, he said. Only one per cent of core age people not looking for work because they're discouraged due to the business climate or job opportunities.

The labour force has declined, but the employment rate was unchanged at 64.6 per cent. The unemployment rate declined by 1.1 percentage points to 5.4 per cent between December 2017 and January 2018.

"Although employment virtually unchanged during the month, there were fewer people searching for work," said Fields, noting there were 6,000 fewer youth in the labour force last month compared to January 2017.

Even if there were fewer youth, their unemployment rate remained steady at 11.1 per cent. 

Full-time employment rises

Saskatchewan's unemployment rate in January tied Quebec for the second lowest among provinces, behind only British Columbia. 

Over 12 months, full-time employment rose by 3,900 while part-time employment declined by 3,200.