OTTAWA, Dec 2 (Reuters) - The Canadian economy added 10,700 jobs in November and the jobless rate fell to 6.8 percent, a performance analysts said was strong enough to ensure the Bank of Canada would keep interest rates unchanged next week.
Statistics Canada said on Friday that for the second month in a row, all the gains were in part-time positions, and noted the jobless rate fell because fewer people were seeking work.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had predicted a loss of 20,000 jobs after two months of above-par growth and said the unemployment rate would remain at 7.0 percent.
“The fact that overall employment managed another respectable gain and the unemployment rate actually declined for a change is at least mildly encouraging,” said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.
“We don’t believe the Bank of Canada is doing anything with interest rates in the next year, and this wouldn’t change that view,” he said by phone. The central bank’s last fixed date announcement of the year is Dec. 7.
The bank, which says the recovery from a shock caused by low oil prices is taking longer than it expected, will look at the jobs data before deciding what to do, Governor Stephen Poloz said on Monday.
The bank will maintain its wait-and-see stance for more than a year, according to a Reuters poll released on Thursday.
The data helped push the Canadian dollar to a six-week high of C$1.3254, or 75.45 U.S. cents, up from C$1.3312, or 75.12 U.S. cents before the release.
Statscan said Canada lost 8,700 full-time jobs in November while gaining 19,400 part-time positions.
“We’ve seen further gains in employment, down from what we’ve been seeing over the previous three months, but, given the size of those earlier gains, I thought we were at risk of a potential decline,” said Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist at Royal Bank of Canada.
In the past year, the number of people employed edged up by 183,200, or 1.0 percent. The six-month average for employment growth was 19,300 jobs, down from 19,900 in October.
The goods-producing sector shed 20,600 jobs on weakness in construction, while the services sector created 31,200 positions.
Separately, Statscan said labor productivity of Canadian businesses in the third quarter of 2016 jumped by 1.2 percent as the economy bounced back after the damage caused by a major wildfire in Alberta in May.
With additional reporting by Matt Scuffham, Solarina Ho and Fergal Smith in Toronto; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe