Canada jobs bounce back in August, trend still weaker

Fri Sep 6, 2013 11:09am EDT
 
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By Louise Egan

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's economy churned out a surprising 59,200 jobs in August, nearly triple the number expected, but most of the gains were in part-time work and the six-month trend in the labor market remains modest.

The jobs report, released by Statistics Canada on Friday, suggests modest economic growth continuing through the third quarter and gives the Bank of Canada no reason to alter its policy of standing pat on interest rates for now.

The unemployment rate edged down to 7.1 percent from 7.2 percent, with most of the hiring done in the services sectors, led by health care and social assistance. However, there was no real evidence of a sustained comeback in the hard-hit manufacturing sector, which could indicate a long-overdue export recovery.

Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast 20,000 net new jobs in August and no change in the jobless rate.

The outstanding performance, the equivalent of about 533,000 jobs in the United States, comes amid volatile employment data in 2013 so far, peaking at 95,000 new jobs in May after a loss of 54,500 in March.

The average monthly job growth over six months, seen as a more reliable gage of the trend in the job market, was 12,000 compared with 29,000 in the previous six-month period and 26,000 in 2012.

"I think this is just another wild ride on the Canadian job market roller coaster," said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.

"I'm not sure it is terribly meaningful, but at the very least it does brush aside the softness we saw in July and shows there's still solid underlying momentum in the Canadian labor market," he said.   Continued...

 
A construction worker works on the "ICE Condominiums" development site by Cadillac Fairview and Lanterra Developments in Toronto December 14, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch