Public sector hit hard as Canada loses jobs in July

Fri Aug 9, 2013 11:23am EDT
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By Louise Egan

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Record job losses in the public sector and scarce opportunities for young people led to unexpected weakness in the Canadian labor market in July, hinting at a sluggish economic start to the third quarter.

Canada lost a net 39,400 jobs during the month, and the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.2 percent from 7.1 percent in June, Statistics Canada said on Friday.

Market players surveyed by Reuters had forecast the creation of 10,000 new jobs in July, and no change in the jobless rate.

"A definite disappointment," said David Tulk, chief macro strategist at TD Securities. "We sort of expected this as a continued hangover from the plus-95 (95,000 jobs) we saw in the month of May."

But analysts generally took the report with a grain of salt given the volatility of Canada's employment numbers, which are based on a household survey subject to a large margin of error.

The monthly jobs figures have whipsawed this year, peaking at 95,000 net new jobs in May after a loss of 54,500 in March.

The more reliable six-month trend showed average monthly jobs growth of 11,000 from February to July, still less than half the average gain in the previous six-month period, according to Statscan figures. Employment grew 1.2 percent in the year to July.

The trend is consistent with mild economic growth.   Continued...