Canada economy posts surprise jobs jump

Fri May 8, 2009 10:07am EDT
 
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada unexpectedly added 35,900 jobs in April, but analysts who had expected the economy to extend its recent pattern of posting heavy job losses generally said the figures were most likely an aberration.

Market operators had on average predicted the economy would lose 50,000 jobs in April. The increase in the number of jobs was the largest since the 92,200 recorded in September 2008.

The Canadian dollar rallied on the news. Several bank economists expressed skepticism about the figures, however, with one saying it could be a "head fake" and another adding that he did not entirely trust the data.

Statistics Canada said on Friday that April's increase was thanks largely to a rise in self-employment. The jobless rate remained steady at a seven-year high of 8.0 percent, reflecting a growth in the number of people looking for work.

"We believe it's an aberration on a year-long trend in job losses that faces serious headwinds over coming months not only in autos and broader manufacturing, but also on low odds of a return in large-scale resource projects any time soon," said Derek Holt and Karen Cordes of Scotia Capital Research.

Statistics Canada figures show employment had dropped by a total of 272,900 jobs in the first three months of the year.

"Although this report was a bit toasty, its interpretation is rather mixed and the Bank (of Canada) is unlikely to act on a single piece of information," said Charmaine Buskas, an economics strategist at TD Securities.

The central bank has vowed to keep rates at historic lows until mid-2010 as long as inflation remains tame.   Continued...

 
<p>A man looks at a job board posted at a job fair in Toronto, April 1, 2009. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>