Canada's economy blew past expectations in October, adding 44,000 jobs and driving the unemployment rate down to seven per cent.

Statistics Canada reported Friday that 18 million Canadians were working during the month, the first time that has ever happened.

October`s figure is more than four times the 10,000 new jobs that economists polled by Bloomberg were expecting.

Ontario, British Columbia, New Brunswick and Manitoba saw gains in employment, while Alberta recorded a loss of 11,000 jobs. There are about as many jobs in Alberta today as there were this time last year.

There was little or no change in the other provinces.

Election-related jobs

By industry, the biggest gains were made in public administration, which added 32,000 jobs. The sector saw gains in every province, and mainly in temporary work.

The jump likely "coincides with activities related to the recent federal election," the data agency said, noting there would have been jobs across the country for election-related activities during advance polling days and on election day itself, on Oct. 19.

One industry that experienced declines was natural resources, which continued on the downward trend that began a year ago. The numbers fell by 8,000 in October, with total losses in the industry climbing to 26,000 over the past 12 months and most of the declines in Alberta.

"Canada's labour market continues to hold up better than expected," TD Bank said in a note to clients. "In October, part of this can be chalked up to temporary election-related hiring, but private sector job growth was still strong."

Royal Bank economist Paul Ferley agreed with that assessment, telling CBC News in an interview that the strong month is unlikely to be repeated, but there was undeniable strength beneath the headline, too.

"There's weakness in energy, it's a headwind, but we're seeing strength elsewhere," he said. "[The numbers] aren't overwhelming but given concerns about a recession … right now things are looking good."