Canada due for downshift in job growth: analysts

Wed Jan 9, 2008 3:43pm EST
 
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By Louise Egan

OTTAWA (Reuters) - After three months of breakneck jobs growth, Canada is due for a humbler employment report for December as public-sector hiring wanes and businesses brace for a possible U.S. recession.

Statistics Canada will release the December employment figures at 7 a.m. EST on Friday. Analysts surveyed by Reuters forecast, on average, 15,000 more jobs last month with an unemployment rate of 5.9 percent, unchanged from November.

The economy added 157,000 jobs over the past three months to the surprise of economists who had been more pessimistic.

But that rate is not sustainable, they say.

"We're creating jobs faster than the U.S., which is 10 times our size. It's abnormal," said Stefane Marion, assistant chief economist at National Bank Financial in Montreal.

Marion expects a decline in jobs in December but warned against any dire readings of a negative number.

"Its not necessarily a sign that there is a significant deterioration in the Canadian jobs market.... Something between 10,000 and 15,000 (additional jobs) makes more sense in the current context where we have decelerating growth in our main trading partner," he said.

Canada's heated labor market has, so far, been a shining example of the country's resilience to the troubles in the U.S. economy stemming from the subprime mortgage debacle.   Continued...

 
<p>Construction workers climb the steel girder skeleton of the Royal Ontario Museum's addition in Toronto October 2, 2006. After three months of breakneck jobs growth, Canada is due for a humbler employment report for December as public-sector hiring wanes and businesses brace for a possible U.S. recession. REUTERS/J.P. Moczulski</p>