The figures also indicate rapidly diminishing slack in the labor market that may quicken the expected pace of interest-rate increases by the Bank of Canada.
The Canadian economy added nearly 80,000 jobs for the second month in a row in December and the jobless rate dipped to a 41-year low of 5.7 percent, Statistics Canada said. According to the previous employment data series that ended in 1975, Canada had a jobless rate of 5.6 percent in November 1974.
The Red Deer area unemployment rate in December 2016 was 8.0 per cent.
This is down from 5.9 the month prior, the lowest since comparable data became available in 1976.
The 9.8 per cent rate for 2017 was marginally higher than in 1978, when it was 9.79 per cent. Its benchmark interest rate sits at 1 percent, while the Fed's is in a range of 1.25 percent to 1.50 percent.
Bets on January rate hike in Canada spike on blowout jobs data
"It looks like as much as Canadian economic growth has softened a little bit over the second half of the year, the labour market is just still rolling right on", said BMO senior economist Robert Kavcic. "We're going to wait to see what the Business Outlook Survey says", he added in an interview.
The Canadian dollar would need to depreciate by about five percent to offset the increase in tariff levels that a dissolution of NAFTA could trigger, said Nick Exarhos, economist at CIBC Capital Markets.
The unemployment rate in Kitchener-Waterloo fell to 4.9 per cent, but only because of a 2,100-worker drop in the local labour force.
"Canadian employment continued to defy gravity, adding almost 80 thousand jobs for a second consecutive month in December - the best back-to-back gains in five years", writes RBC economist Josh Nye in a note released today. The number of public-sector employees rose by 2.3 per cent compared to a 1.8 per cent increase in paid positions in the private sector.