Canada adds more jobs than expected, jobless rate near six-year low

Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:20am EDT
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By David Ljunggren and Jeffrey Hodgson

OTTAWA/TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada added a significantly more-than-expected 74,100 jobs in September and the jobless rate fell to a near six-year low of 6.8 percent, according to data that was met with some skepticism but also helped boost the currency.

Analysts had forecast a gain of 20,000 positions and said the jobless rate would remain at 7.0 percent. Unemployment last hit the 6.8 percent mark in December 2008.

Recent Statistics Canada employment reports have been particularly volatile, alternately rising and falling every month since November 2013.

"Most of us, frankly, don't quite know what to make of the Canadian figures anymore, they've been so volatile. But at least in one way, they're consistent - we continue to see this pattern of one step backward, one step forward," said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.

"On the surface, it certainly is a very impressive report, pretty much strong across the board."

Statscan said full-time employment grew by 69,300 jobs while part-time posts added 4,800 positions. The goods-producing sector drove the gain, with notable advances in the natural resources and construction sectors.

The 12-month gain was 150,400 jobs, or 0.8 percent, while the six-month moving average for employment growth was 15,400, up from 10,200 in August. The labor participation rate stayed at 66.0 percent, the lowest since November 2001.

The Canadian dollar CAD=D4 strengthened to a session high following the report, hitting C$1.1160 to the greenback, or 89.61 U.S. cents, compared with Thursday's close of C$1.1173 to the U.S. dollar, or 89.50 U.S. cents. [CAD/]   Continued...

Motorized mannequins hold signs that read "Hire Me" in Toronto May 23, 2014.   REUTERS/Mark Blinch