WRAPUP 1-Canada loses jobs for second month in a row, housing cools

Fri Jan 9, 2015 9:15am EST
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA Jan 9 (Reuters) - Canada's job market continued to gently cool off in December, shedding 4,300 positions after a loss of 10,700 jobs in November, while the hot housing market showed signs of decline.

Statistics Canada said on Friday that the unemployment rate had remained unchanged at 6.6 percent.

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.

"Full-time employment was quite strong, wages bounced back, and the unemployment rate held steady," said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.

"So, while the headline number is a disappointment, you don't have to dig too far beneath the surface to see the overall results weren't uniformly bad," he told Reuters.

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.   Continued...