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MONTREAL (Reuters) - Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Friday he was encouraged by data showing the jobless rate in Canada fell in November but added he was concerned by gloomy U.S. employment figures.
Statistics Canada said employers added 15,200 workers last month, with the jobless rate falling to 7.6 percent from 7.9 in October. The U.S. unemployment rate jumped to 9.8 percent from 9.6 percent.
"I am encouraged by the unemployment numbers this morning in Canada," Flaherty told a news conference in Montreal.
"It's a bit discouraging to see the unemployment numbers in the United States ... there's a persisting concern with respect to the American economy," he said.
Canada is heavily dependent on the United States, which takes 75 percent of all its exports.
Flaherty and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney have consistently identified weak U.S. growth as one of the main risks for the Canadian economy.
Other factors holding the domestic economy back are the strong Canadian dollar and the after-effects of the global crisis.
Flaherty said he expected modest economic growth over the next few years and repeated he was satisfied Canada was on track to balance its budget in the medium term.
Reporting by Leila Lemghalef, writing by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson