OTTAWA, Dec 5 (Reuters) - Canada’s job market cooled off in November, shedding 10,700 positions after two consecutive months of big gains, and the unemployment rate edged up to 6.6 percent from 6.5 percent in October, Statistics Canada said on Friday.
Analysts had expected an increase of 5,000 jobs after 43,100 were created in October and 74,100 in September.
The labor participation rate, which is of particular interest to the Bank of Canada, stayed at 66.0 percent, the lowest since November 2001.
The central bank, which has kept interest rates at near-record lows for more than four years to stimulate the economy, had said on Wednesday that the labor market still showed significant slack.
The job figures contrasted with a string of recent data indicating the Canadian economy is picking up pace.
“It still looks like Canada’s labor market is benefiting from a perkier economy,” said BMO Capital Markets senior economist Sal Guatieri. “It certainly won’t provide much support to the Canadian dollar, but again, I don’t think it’s a disaster.”
The data, as well as stronger than expected U.S. employment figures, pushed the Canadian dollar down to a session low of C$1.1441 to the greenback, or 87.40 U.S. cents, weaker than Thursday’s close of C$1.1375, or 87.91 U.S. cents.
Full-time employment grew by 5,700 jobs, while part-time work dropped by 16,300. The goods-producing sector, which includes the manufacturing, natural resources and construction industries, added 17,300 posts, while the services sector lost 28,000.
The 12-month gain came to 146,000 positions, an increase of 0.8 percent, while the six-month moving average for employment growth was 21,300 jobs, down from 27,400 in October.
Canada’s trade surplus in October shrank to C$99 million ($87 million) from C$307 million in September as imports hit an all-time high, Statistics Canada said in a separate release on Friday.
Analysts had expected a surplus of C$200 million. October marked the sixth consecutive month Canada had recorded a trade surplus, a feat it last achieved in November 2008.
Statscan also said the labor productivity of Canadian businesses edged up by 0.1 percent in the third quarter after posting a substantial 2.0 percent gain in the previous period. (Additional reporting by Allison Martell and Solarina Ho in Toronto; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)