UPDATE 2-Canada says error found in influential July jobs report

Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:39pm EDT
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(Adds details, comment by Statscan, economist, byline)

By Leah Schnurr

TORONTO Aug 12 (Reuters) - The July version of Canada's market-moving jobs report contained an error and must be restated, the country's main statistics agency said on Tuesday, pointing to the latest in a series of mistakes that have damaged its reputation in recent years.

Statistics Canada said in a statement that the source of the error has been identified and that corrected estimates will be released on Aug. 15. It did not specify what the error was.

The report, released last Friday, showed the economy added just 200 jobs last month, far fewer than analysts had forecast.

The monthly Canadian employment report, which is similar to the influential U.S. nonfarm payrolls data, is one of the economic indicators that is most closely watched by investors and policymakers. It has showed some big swings between gains and losses in the past.

The mistake will inevitably raise questions about the reliability of StatsCan's data and whether it paints a true picture of Canada's economic growth.

There was a disconnect in the second quarter with the labor market underperforming relative to other measures of growth that have strengthened, said Mazen Issa, senior Canada macro strategist at TD Securities in Toronto.

While it is hard to gauge whether the revision will be positive or negative, the fact that StatsCan chose not to wait until next month's report to issue a revision suggests the change could be material, he said.   Continued...