Canada November job losses biggest in 26 years

Fri Dec 5, 2008 3:00pm EST
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By Louise Egan

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian employers cut 70,600 jobs in November, the most in any month since June 1982, fueling expectations of a big interest rate cut next week and likely adding spark to the parliamentary crisis in Ottawa.

Statistics Canada said on Friday the biggest job losses were in Ontario, the country's manufacturing heartland and home to its auto industry, where the U.S. economic downturn has forced layoffs.

"The great reckoning for Canadian workers begins," said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 6.3 percent from 6.2 percent in October. Markets had forecast 25,000 job losses in November and a jobless rate of 6.4 percent.

The news, followed by equally dismal U.S. jobs data, drove the Canadian dollar lower and prompted a renewed promise of more fiscal stimulus by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

Flaherty said the report was evidence the economy faced "enormous challenges."

"More needs to be done and we will take further measures to stimulate the economy," he said.

The currency slipped to C$1.2924 to the U.S. dollar, or 77.38 U.S. cents, from C$1.2826 previously.   Continued...

<p>Worker Nick Aphayvong prepares to install a battery into a Ford Flex on the assembly line at the company's Oakville Plant in this June 3, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill</p>