Canada jobs rise, unemployment lowest since 2008

Fri Aug 5, 2011 8:17am EDT
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By Randall Palmer

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's unemployment rate fell to 7.2 percent in July, its lowest since December 2008, from 7.4 percent in June, though this was due more to people dropping out of the labor market than to job creation.

Statistics Canada said on Friday the economy managed to eke out 7,100 new jobs while holding on to the 28,400 jobs that were picked up in June.

The increase was less than half that expected in a Reuters survey of analysts but was marked by a healthy switch to full-time and private-sector employment.

"Looking beyond the so-so headline, almost every detail in the report is quite strong. We saw solid full-time gains, the private sector accounted for all the job gains and surprisingly the unemployment rate fell," BMO Capital Markets deputy chief economist Douglas Porter said.

"Overall, I would actually characterize this as good news, even though the headline employment number was a bit below consensus. I think the details are unambiguously better than the headline would suggest."

The median forecast in a Reuters survey of analysts was for 15,000 new jobs and a 7.4 percent unemployment rate. July saw 25,500 new full-time positions while 18,400 part-time ones were lost.

The Canadian dollar briefly rose as high as C$0.9801 to the U.S. dollar, or $1.0203, immediately after the data. But it resumed its weakening trend as global equity markets and many commodity prices tumbled for a second day.

The currency had closed at C$0.9795 versus the U.S. dollar, or $1.0209, on Thursday.   Continued...