May 10, 2019 / 12:49 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Canada adds record 106,500 jobs in April, unemployment falls to 5.7%

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OTTAWA, May 10 (Reuters) - The Canadian economy added 106,500 jobs in April, the biggest monthly gain on record, led by employment increases in the two most populous provinces, Ontario and Quebec, Statistics Canada data showed on Friday.

The April surge far outstripped analysts’ expectations of 10,000 jobs. The unemployment rate declined to 5.7%, the lowest since December, from 5.8% in March. Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast 5.8%.

Ontario added 47,000 positions and Quebec 38,000, with the unemployment rate in Quebec at 4.9%, the lowest since 1976, when comparable employment data was first collected, Statscan said.

Late last month, the Bank of Canada held interest rates steady and removed wording around the need for future hikes, while lowering its growth forecast for 2019, to cement the market’s view that further increases are off the table for now.

The central bank has raised rates five times since July 2017.

The economy added 39,700 goods-producing sector jobs, mostly in construction, and gained 66,900 services-sector jobs, mostly in wholesale and retail trade.

Full-time jobs gained by 73,000 in April from March, while part-time jobs increased by 33,600, the data showed.

The average year-over-year wage growth of permanent employees - a figure closely watched by the central bank - was 2.6% in April, up from 2.3% in March, and the highest since August 2018.

Reporting by Steve Scherer, edited by Dale Smith and Steve Orlofsky

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