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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada shed just 400 jobs in June, indicating the economy had managed to hang on to most of the massive gains it made in May's blowout report, Statistics Canada said on Friday.
Market analysts had predicted a loss of 2,500 jobs after May's huge 95,000 new positions, the second highest increase on record. The jobless rate in June stayed steady at 7.1 percent.
The economy lost 32,400 full-time positions in June while adding 32,200 part-time jobs. In theory, this means the net loss was 200 jobs. Statscan, however, says it is sticking with a net loss of 400 jobs and says the discrepancy is due to rounding.
"The fact that full-time jobs retreated ... is the one major downbeat note, but of course that followed a massive increase the previous month," said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.
"Pretty much every number here has to be put in the context of just the enormous gains seen in May, and overall maybe the good news is that the job market continues to hold on to most of those gains," he told Reuters.
Canada's jobs data have a large margin of error and can be volatile. A more accurate gauge is the average monthly employment growth, which for the first six months of 2013 was 14,000 compared with the average of 27,000 recorded in the second half of 2012.
The jobs data indicate underlying strength in Canada's economy, which has showed signs of slowing in recent months amid continuing uncertainty in major export markets such as the United States and the European Union.
The figures came out at the same time as a positive U.S. jobs report, which helped push the Canadian dollar down to a 21-month low against its U.S. counterpart. The dollar weakened to C$1.0584, or 94.48 U.S. cents, down from Thursday's close of C$1.0521, or 95.05 U.S. cents.
Employment in professional, scientific and technical services grew by 27,000 while accommodation and food services shed 20,000 posts, and information, culture and recreation lost 15,000.
Craig Wright, chief economist at the Royal Bank of Canada, said the June jobs data were not particularly robust but not terribly worrisome either.
"I think any direction today in the markets is taking its cue from what's going on in the United States," he told Reuters.
Statscan said much of its June labor force survey had been completed by the time major floods hit southern Alberta. The disaster had had little effect on the June data, it said.
"In July, questions on the impact of the floods on hours worked will be added to the ... survey, with estimates to be released in mid-August," the agency said in its daily release.
Additional reporting by Solarina Ho, Peter Henderson and Allison Martell; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio