OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada added 13,200 jobs in October - all of them full-time - and the unemployment rate stayed at a nearly five-year low of 6.9 percent, Statistics Canada said on Friday.
The relatively modest job growth almost matched analysts’ expectations for 13,500 new positions and follows the 11,900 jobs created in September.
The figures reflect how little short-term pressure the Bank of Canada is under to raise rates. Last month the central bank, fretting about the soft economy and sluggish exports, abandoned 18 months of warnings that rates would eventually have to rise.
The bank’s softer stance prompted primary dealers to forecast the key overnight rate would stay unchanged until the first half of 2015. The bank has kept the rate at a near record low of 1 percent since September 2010.
“What will eventually move the Bank of Canada will be data on exports, international trade,” said Carlos Leitao, chief economist at Laurentian Bank of Canada.
“That’s the key element in the Canadian outlook, and until and unless we see exports pick up significantly, the Bank of Canada will not change,” he told Reuters.
The Canadian data were overshadowed by figures from the United States, which showed employers there added a much greater-than-expected 204,000 new jobs to their payrolls last month. Canada sends 75 percent of its exports to the United States and is hugely reliant on its southern neighbor.
The Canadian dollar weakened to a session low of C$1.0487 to the U.S. dollar, softer than just before the jobs data was released and weaker than Thursday’s session close at C$1.0461, or 95.59 U.S. cents.
Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, said the U.S. figures meant the Bank of Canada might lift rates sooner than expected.
“I think more people are going to be talking about rate hikes in 2014 than they were before, at least for Canada,” he told Reuters.
The average monthly job growth over the last six months, seen as a more reliable gauge of the trend in the job market, was 23,300, compared with 23,100 in the previous six-month period. May’s outsized 95,000 new jobs will not be part of the six-month average when November’s data are released.
In October, Canada added 16,000 full-time positions and shed 2,700 part-time jobs. Since October 2012, the economy has added 213,800 jobs, an increase of 1.2 percent.
Employment in the struggling manufacturing sector fell by 6,400 jobs in October. Employment in business, building and other support services dropped by 32,600.
The overall participation rate, which includes those working or actively looking for work, remained at 66.4 percent, the lowest since the 66.3 percent recorded in February 2002.
Additional reporting by Solarina Ho and Andrea Hopkins in Toronto; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and John Wallace