Canada October job losses reverse positive trend

Fri Nov 6, 2009 11:25am EST
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By Louise Egan

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada lost more jobs in October than even the gloomiest analyst had predicted, dashing hopes for a quick economic rebound and suggesting a recovery in the labor market may have gotten off to a false start.

The economy unexpectedly lost 43,200 jobs in the month after two months of gains, pushing the jobless rate up to 8.6 percent from 8.4 percent, Statistics Canada said on Friday.

The numbers showed markets were way off base with their consensus forecast of a 10,000 employment gain in the month after net gains of about 30,000 in each of the previous two months. Even the most pessimistic forecast in a Reuters poll called for a loss of just 10,000 jobs.

"Certainly this is a sobering piece of news for a recovery that will increasingly rely on domestic demand as its boost," said Grant Bishop, economist with Toronto-Dominion Bank.

"It does show that employment remains rocky in Canada. And the recovery is still in process. We do deem it to be sustainable, but there is some widespread restructuring ongoing in the Canadian economy," he said.

The Canadian dollar weakened just after the report to C$1.0742, or 93.09 U.S. cents, from C$1.0680, or 93.63 U.S. cents before the report.

U.S. data on Friday was also bleak, showing employers cut a deeper-than-expected 190,000 jobs in October, driving the unemployment rate to 10.2 percent, the highest in 26-1/2 years.

The Canadian jobs report added to the mix of data suggesting the economy is taking two steps forward and one step back as it emerges from a deep recession, and is reliant on government stimulus given limited private sector expansion.   Continued...

<p>The Bay Street sign is pictured in the heart of the financial district as people walk by in Toronto, May 22, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>