(Adds market reaction, economists’ comments, U.S. comparison)
By Randall Palmer
OTTAWA, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Canada added an estimated 6,600 jobs in July from June, in a mixed report from Statistics Canada on Friday that left analysts concluding that while the economy was not spectacular, it was at least “steady as she goes.”
The gain in July nearly mirrored a fall in June while holding on to May’s outsized gain of 58,900. The average increase is 19,700 jobs in the last three months and 11,200 in the last half year. The jobless rate held at 6.8 percent.
The median forecast in a Reuters survey of economists was for a gain of 5,000 jobs, with the jobless rate at 6.8 percent.
However, the number of full-time positions fell by 17,300 and the number of employees actually fell an estimated 33,900, with the self-employed rising by 40,500. Employment grew in the services sector but fell in the goods-producing sector.
“Obviously, it’s not a particularly strong report. We saw an outright decline in full-time jobs. But it also doesn’t show a pronounced weakening in the economy,” Bank of Montreal Chief Economist Doug Porter said.
“Typically, if we were having a full-blown recession, you would have this process where output declines and then employment declines and then spending declines and it feeds on itself, and we’re just not seeing that in Canada.”
“In Canada, it’s serving as a steady-as-she-goes type of release. The U.S. number is the same kind of thing, where it’s close enough to the market where it doesn’t really drive too much,” said David Tulk, chief Canada macro strategist at Toronto-Dominion Bank.
The United States added 215,000 non-farm jobs in July, with unemployment at 5.3 percent. The two jobless rates are not strictly comparable.
Additional reporting by Allison Martell, Euan Rocha and Alastair Sharp in Toronto; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Bernadette Baum