Small gain seen in Canadian jobs in April

Fri May 4, 2012 4:24pm EDT
 
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(Reuters) - Canada will be fortunate if it registered much of an employment increase in April after March's outsized gain of 82,300 jobs.

Data out on May 11 is forecast to show a much smaller 7,000 gain, and the unemployment rate edging back up a tick to 7.3 percent, after having fallen in March to 7.2 percent from 7.4 percent.

The consensus of 2 3 economists surveyed by Reuters is that March's surge [ID:nSCL5FE87O] was a one-off gain, with several predicting a reactive fall and none of the rest seeing employment rising at that rate for a second month.

"Despite the gyrations in the headline, the underlying trend is much more stable at +16k per month over the past year, consistent with the modest economic growth experienced," said BMO Capital Markets senior economist Benjamin Reitzes.

"With the economy expected to expand 2 percent this year, don't expect much pickup in employment trends."

They said the March data should also be seen in the context of weak employment numbers in previous months.

"Indeed, the average monthly gain over the last six months was a far more modest 7,500," said David Madani, Canada economist at Capital Economics.

If April registers only a modest gain in jobs, or a fall, the unemployment rate would be expected to rise. Only eight of the economists surveyed forecast it would stay at 7.2 percent or drop further.

(Reporting by Randall Palmer; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)