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TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada is likely to have added a modest 10,000 new jobs in September, backpedaling from gains in August that far surpassed market expectations and better reflecting the sluggish pace of the country's economic growth.
The gain of 10,000 jobs was the median forecast in a Reuters poll of 24 economists. The most bullish forecast was for 28,000 new jobs and the most bearish was for a loss of 15,000 jobs.
In August, Canada added 34,300 jobs - more than doubling expectations and recouping all the 30,400 positions lost in July - but analysts see slower and steadier jobs growth as more in line with economic fundamentals.
"If we look at the last six months, even the six-month average, which is about 27,000, that looks high for an economy that's growing at less than 2 percent," said Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC, who expects 10,000 new jobs.
"So we're due for a somewhat slower pace."
The poll's median forecast for the unemployment rate in September was 7.3 percent, unchanged from August and July.
Jobs growth was muted in May and June after a whopping 140,500 new jobs were created in March and April, which was the biggest two-month spree of job creation in more than 30 years.
"We expect a see-saw performance from the labor market in September as another strong gain in jobs (like that in August) is not likely given the current economic environment," IHS Global Insight Canadian economists Arlene Kish and Jillian Kohut wrote in a research note.
They forecast a loss of 15,000 jobs, but added: "There is the potential for a gain given that consumer confidence levels increased in September, but we haven't always seen survey responses reflected in actual data outcomes."
Canada has regained all the jobs it lost during the last recession, which was milder in Canada than it was in the United States.
Editing by Peter Galloway and Jeffrey Hodgson