WRAPUP 2-Canada jobless rate at 4-year low even as growth slows

Fri Jan 4, 2013 2:03pm EST
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* Economy adds 39,800 jobs vs forecast of 5,000

* Data raises likelihood of higher rates in 2013

* Jobless rate drops to four-year low of 7.1 pct

* Full-time jobs dominate, private sector hiring strong

By Louise Egan

OTTAWA, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Canada's economy created far more jobs than expected in December and the jobless rate slid to a four-year low, bolstering the likelihood of a central bank interest rate rise later this year.

The economy added 39,800 jobs in December from November, Statistics Canada said on Friday, well above market expectations for 5,000 jobs and surpassing even the most bullish forecast in a Reuters poll of analysts.

In a report that appeared at odds with other figures pointing to sluggish growth, Statscan said the unemployment rate dipped to 7.1 percent from 7.2 percent in November.   Continued...