The Canadian economy added no new jobs in October and the unemployment rate stayed at 7.4 per cent after two months of gains.
The public sector was responsible for much of the upside, as private-sector employment fell by 20,300 in the month, Statistics Canada said Friday.
"While this month's numbers are modest, I'm pleased to see our economy continues to create jobs," Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said following the release of the data. "We have more than 820,000 net new jobs created since July, 2009, with most of those full time and in the private sector."
The muted performance was expected by economists, who calculated that following two outsized months when over 86,000 jobs were created, some payback was in order. The consensus was for a 5,000 gain, but some estimates were much higher and others predicted a decline.
Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador experienced job gains, while the market for work shrank in B.C. and Manitoba.
By industry, the agricultural sector shed 16,000 jobs in October. That was offset by an increase of roughly the same amount in the educational sector. For the fifth consecutive month, employment in manufacturing was basically unchanged.
Compared to a year ago, Canada's economy has added 229,000 net new jobs since last October — an increase of 1.3 per cent, the data agency said.
"The slow pace of hiring in October followed unsustainably strong gains in the prior two months and the unemployment rate has been range-bound between 7.2 and 7.4 per cent for the past nine months," Royal Bank economist Dawn Desjardins said in a note following the release of the data.