Statistics Canada said Friday that Canada has now produced 182,000 jobs in the past year. But two-thirds of those jobs have come in the past two months.
The strong monthly figure is much better than what most economists had been expecting — a slight pullback after a strong September figure. Instead, it was the first time there have been back-to-back monthly gains since the end of 2012.
The loonie gained almost a cent on the news, trading back above the 88 cent level after the news came out.
"Throughout this year, we’ve been trapped in an oscillating pattern of gains one month only to be followed by losses the very next month," Scotiabank said in a research note ahead of the release of the data.
Provincially, employment rose in Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, while it declined in New Brunswick. Everywhere else, it was basically flat.
Private-sector workers and the ranks of the self-employed swelled, while there was a slight decline in the number of public-sector workers, the data agency said.
There were job gains in manufacturing, where 33,200 more people found work during the month. The survey said the natural resources sector shed 22,200 jobs in October.
The strong monthly figure "suggests that the economy may have shifted into a higher gear," Capital Economics said in a research note. "Stronger job creation over the past six months indicates a marked improvement."
While the overall unemployment rate dropped to an almost six-year low, young workers are still disproportionately unemployed. The jobless rate for those aged 15-24 declined to 12.6 per cent because more young workers stopped looking. But the figure is still almost twice as high as overall jobless rate.
Mark Hopkins, senior economist at Moody's Analytics, was surprised by the overall survey results, which he believes could signal the Canadian economy has turned a corner.
"I'm always reluctant to read too much into the last two data points, but clearly we're seeing a different pattern in terms of the job-market performance that we've seen over the previous year," Hopkins said.
He added, however, he doesn't expect the unemployment rate to fall again in November, predicting it might even climb back up a tick or two.
But that wouldn't mean a reversal in the promising trend, he added.
"I think there has been a shift and a strengthening now," Hopkins said.