Canadian jobs, purchasing data point to recovery

Fri Sep 4, 2009 3:15pm EDT
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By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada unexpectedly added jobs in August while purchasing by businesses grew at a faster pace than forecast, providing more evidence that the economy was starting to recover from its worst recession in decades.

The Canadian economy created 27,100 jobs last month, Statistics Canada said on Friday, compared with a median forecast of 10,000 job losses, according to economists in a Reuters survey.

The unemployment rate, however, rose to an 11-1/2 year high of 8.7 percent from 8.6 percent in July as more people entered the labor market. That was the highest jobless rate since the 8.8 percent posted in January 1998.

"It's a surprisingly solid result, but certainly the details are not quite as impressive as the headline would suggest," said Doug Porter, economist at BMO Capital Markets. "But that being said, nevertheless, I think it fits in very nicely with the story that the Canadian economy is beginning to recover."

The jobs data boosted the Canadian dollar to its highest in a week against the U.S. dollar, while Toronto's main stock index rose modestly, held back by soft gold prices.


Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty have said recently they are seeing signs that the worst of the global economic crisis is over for Canada, while warning of more job losses to come this year.

"The unemployment today was relatively stable ... It's about a full percentage point below the unemployment rate in the United States, which is unusual," Flaherty told reporters in London, England.   Continued...

<p>People watch financial news in the underground paths in the financial district in Toronto, March 11, 2009. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>