OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian job growth slowed more than expected in May to its weakest since December as a sharp drop in full-time employment offset a surge in part-time positions, Statistics Canada said on Friday.
The economy added 8,400 jobs in the month as employers hired 40,600 part-time workers and dropped 32,200 full-time staff -- the biggest loss of full-time jobs since June 2006. The unemployment rate stayed unchanged at 6.1 percent.
The employment growth was below the median forecast in a Reuters poll of 10,000 jobs and followed four months of stronger-than-expected gains. In December 2007, the economy shed 18,700 workers.
Manufacturing, battered by layoffs in the auto sector as U.S. demand weakens and gasoline prices soar, showed 1.8 percent growth in employment despite losing 66,400 jobs in the past year. Overall, goods-producing sectors posted growth of 0.7 percent while services fell 0.2 percent.
Hourly wages for permanent employees, closely watched by the Bank of Canada for inflationary pressures, climbed 4.6 percent year-over-year.
Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by Frank McGurty