UPDATE 1-Canada sheds 4,300 jobs in Dec, second consecutive monthly drop

Fri Jan 9, 2015 8:34am EST
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(Adds details of release, background)

OTTAWA Jan 9 (Reuters) - Canada's job market continued to cool off in December, shedding 4,300 positions after a loss of 10,700 jobs in November, while the unemployment rate remained at 6.6 percent, Statistics Canada said on Friday.

Market analysts had expected an increase of 15,000 jobs. The two months of fairly small declines followed big gains in September and October.

Full-time employment in December grew by 53,500 jobs, while part-time work dropped by 57,700. The goods-producing sector gained 22,100 jobs while the services-producing sector lost 26,400.

The 12-month gain came to 185,700 positions, an increase of 1.0 percent, while the six-month moving average for employment growth was 22,100 jobs, up from 21,300 in November.

The Bank of Canada, which has kept interest rates at near-record lows for more than four years to stimulate the economy, said last month the labor market still showed significant slack.

The labor participation rate, which is of particular interest to the central bank, slipped to 65.9 percent, the lowest since October 2001.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)