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UPDATE 1-Canada loses 1,800 jobs in October, unemployment rate holds steady at 5.5%

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OTTAWA, Nov 8 (Reuters) - The Canadian job market unexpectedly held steady in October, losing 1,800 net positions, while the unemployment rate remained at 5.5%, Statistics Canada said on Friday, as employment declined in manufacturing and construction.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a gain of 15,900 jobs in October and an unemployment rate of 5.5%. Wages for permanent employees rose by 4.4%, Statscan said.

The services sector gained 39,000 in October, with increases reported in public administration, as well as finance, real estate, insurance and rental leasing industries, while the goods-producing sectors saw a decline of 40,900 jobs on losses in manufacturing and construction.

The country’s manufacturing sector lost 23,100 jobs in October, mostly located in Ontario, while the construction sector lost 21,300 positions across five provinces, Statscan said.

Canada’s central bank, which has sat on the sidelines since October 2018 even as its counterparts - including the U.S. Federal Reserve - have eased, held interest rates steady as expected last week, but left the door open to a possible cut over the coming months to help the economy weather the damaging effects of global trade conflicts. The Bank of Canada has said it will monitor “the extent to which the global slowdown spreads beyond manufacturing and investment”, going forward while also keeping an eye on domestic data.

Reporting by Kelsey Johnson; Editing by Dale Smith and Alex Richardson