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TORONTO - The pace of purchasing activity in Canada unexpectedly contracted in May for the first time in five months as employment tumbled, the Ivey Purchasing Managers Index showed on Thursday.
The seasonally adjusted index fell to 48.2 from 54.1 in April, the lowest level since December and short of analysts' expectations for a pickup to 56. A reading above 50 indicates an increase in the pace of activity.
The unadjusted index edged up to 52.2 from 51.1.
The gauge of employment dropped to 48 from 56.2, potentially boding poorly for the larger monthly employment report due to be released on Friday.
The prices index slid to its lowest level since last July at 55.1 from the previous month's 70.5. Inventories shrank to 47.9 from 55.8, while the rate of contraction for deliveries moderated to 48 from 46.5.
Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli