* C$ strengthens to C$0.9741, or $1.0266
* Canadian currency at its strongest since Sept. 21
* U.S., Canadian employment data point to resilience
By Alastair Sharp
TORONTO, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Canada’s dollar pushed to a two-week high versus its U.S. counterpart on Friday after jobs data showed the North American labor market improved in September.
The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to a near four-year low of 7.8 percent in September, while Canada added a thumping 52,100 jobs, almost all of them full-time, defying expectations and bolstering the Bank of Canada’s case for an eventual interest rate rise.
“I think the key point here is the economy is still churning out jobs at a healthy pace,” said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets. “I think the combination of figures is unambiguously positive for the Canadian dollar.”
The Canadian dollar jumped sharply against the U.S. dollar, which itself gained against the euro and yen .
By 9:02 a.m. (1302 GMT) the Canadian currency was trading at C$0.9737 to the greenback, or $1.0270, compared to C$0.9810, or C$1.0194, minutes before the data was released. That was its strongest showing since Sept. 21.