OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada added a record number of jobs in November and the unemployment rate dipped to a new all-time low, a performance that analysts said should help ease the Bank of Canada’s worries about a recent economic slowdown.
Statistics Canada on Friday reported a gain of 94,100 jobs on stronger full-time hiring and said the jobless rate had fallen to 5.6 percent. Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast 11,000 new positions.
The report will provide some relief for Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, who said on Thursday that economic data since October had been disappointing.
The central bank - which has hiked interest rates five times since July 2017 - left them unchanged on Wednesday and said the pace of further hikes would be heavily data-dependent.
Sal Guatieri, a senior economist with BMO Capital Markets, said the numbers were “just off the charts” but predicted jobs growth would cool in the coming months.
The data “makes the Bank of Canada rate decision a little more interesting, but we still don’t think they will move as early as January,” he said in an interview.
Market expectations of an increase rate increase on Jan. 9, as reflected in the overnight index swaps markets, jumped to 23.89 percent from 12.39 percent.
Full-time jobs surged by 89,900 on stronger private sector hiring while part-time positions edged up by 4,100.
That said, the average year-over-year wage growth of permanent employees - a figure closely watched by the central bank - dropped for the sixth month in a row, falling to 1.5 percent, the lowest since the 1.2 percent seen in July 2017.
The Canadian dollar, which hit an 18-month low on Thursday after Poloz’s comments, strengthened to C$1.3288 to the U.S. dollar, or 75.26 U.S. cents, from C$1.3396 to the greenback, or 74.65 U.S. cents.
“This report would certainly warrant continued tightening. At some point they will resume (lifting rates) but they will probably await clarity on the impact of some recent developments,” said Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist at the Royal Bank of Canada.
The 94,100 increase in the number of jobs created - a 0.5 percent month-on-month jump - is the largest on record, eclipsing 94,000 in March 2012.
On a year-over-year basis employment rose by 218,800 jobs, or 1.2 percent. The six month average for employment gains increased to 33,800 from 16,900 in October.
Additional reporting by Fergal Smith, Matt Scuffham and Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto; Editing by Bernadette Baum