UPDATE 1-Canada jobless rate under 7 pct for first time in almost 5 years

Fri Oct 11, 2013 8:38am EDT
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* Canada adds 11,900 jobs, more than expected

* Jobless rate lowest since December 2008

OTTAWA, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Canada added 11,900 jobs in September and the unemployment rate dropped to an almost five-year low of 6.9 percent, largely because fewer youths were looking for work, Statistics Canada said on Friday.

The gain was greater than the 10,000 new jobs predicted by market analysts. The jobless rate, which stood at 7.1 percent in August, touched the lowest since the 6.8 percent recorded in December 2008.

The average monthly job growth over six months, seen as a more reliable gage of the trend in the job market, was 23,100 compared with 12,300 in the previous six-month period. March's heavy job losses of 54,500 are no longer a part of the most recent six months.

In September, Canada added 23,400 full-time jobs and lost 11,500 part-time jobs. Since September 2012, the economy has added 212,400 positions, an increase of 1.2 percent.

Employment in the hard-hit manufacturing sector dropped by 26,000 jobs in September. Finance, insurance, real estate and leasing added 33,200 jobs.