After two straight months of large gains, Canada's economy lost more than 10,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate inched up to 6.6 per cent.
Statistics Canada reported Friday that there were 10,700 fewer jobs in November than there were a month earlier. The economy actually added more than 5,000 full-time jobs, but that was offset by a decline of 16,000 part-time positions.
The loonie dropped to its lowest level in more than five years on the weak showing, trading hands at 87.48 cents US at the close. Earlier, it briefly touched as low as 87.21 cents US. That's the lowest it's been since July 2009, when the Canadian economy was starting to come out of recession.
Scotiabank's economics team struck a cautious tone on the weak jobs showing.
"There are roughly 3.5 million part-time workers in Canada and about 305,000 of those are involuntarily part-time, so any switch away from part-time to full-time work can be a sign of a healthier labour market," the bank said.
Across the country, employment declined in Ontario, which lost 34,000 jobs, and Saskatchewan, while it increased in Quebec as well as Newfoundland and Labrador.
Quebec posted the biggest monthly gain, adding more than 19,000 new jobs — the first time in the more than six months that the province has shown any jobs growth.
By sector, retail was the hardest hit, shedding 42,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the agricultural sector added 8,000 jobs during the month. Goods-producing sectors added 17,000 jobs, Scotiabank noted, while service-production jobs were the big dampener, losing 28,000 positions.
Although a weak showing, the monthly numbers were pretty much in line with what economists had been expecting — a small decline in the number of jobs after two big months, and a slight uptick in the jobless rate.
"This seems like a natural pullback following substantial employment gains in September and October," Scotiabank said. "Given the volatility that we’ve seen in recent releases, we caution against drawing too many conclusions on this one data point."
"You have to put the weak Canadian report into perspective," the bank's currency strategist Camilla Sutton told Bloomberg. "We’ve had two months of significant job gains, and one month doesn’t reverse that."