Canada's big job gain suggests recovery under way

Fri Dec 4, 2009 11:45am EST
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By Louise Egan

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian employers hired five times more workers than expected in November in a stunningly upbeat jobs report that fueled expectations of a pickup in economic growth after a disappointing start to the recovery.

Statistics Canada said on Friday the economy added 79,000 jobs in the month, soaring past expectations of a 15,000 gain.

The unemployment rate edged lower to 8.5 percent from 8.6 percent in October.

"It's all good. Obviously the headline was a shocker. Some of it came in the part-time and it was a bit of a bounce from the previous month. But most of the details were supportive," said Mark Chandler, head of fixed-income and currency strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

The Canadian dollar rose immediately after the report to C$1.0458 to the U.S. dollar from around C$1.0530 just before the data was released.

A separate report on Friday showed an expansion of private-sector purchasing activity in November. The Ivey Purchasing Managers Index fell to 55.9 from 61.2 in October but was still above 50, which is a positive reading.

The surprising data more than offset job losses of 43,200 in October, which followed two months of gains. The moving average over six months, which gives a more accurate picture and strips out monthly volatility, shows average monthly employment growth of about 7,000, analysts said.

Canada has lost 321,000 jobs since employment peaked in October 2008, Statscan said.   Continued...

<p>People go shopping in a mall in downtown Toronto, December 23, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>