Canada's unemployment rate didn't budge last month, remaining at 7.1 per cent, Statistics Canada reported Friday.
While the economy lost a net of 400 jobs in June, the number was not statistically significant enough to change the unemployment rate.
The country gained about 14,000 jobs a month in the first half of 2013, less than in the last six months of 2012, which saw job growth of an average 27,000 jobs a month.
BMO's chief economist, Doug Porter, said the June numbers are likely more indicative of the kind of mild job growth we are to see in the months ahead — compared to the wild fluctuations of the previous months, which included a loss of 54,000 jobs in March followed by a surge of 95,000 jobs in May.
"The main point is that underlying job growth has clearly geared down, but has not collapsed, and we expect it to remain mild in the second half, pointing to some modest improvement in the jobless rate," he said.
Manitoba, B.C. had biggest job gains
Regionally, Manitoba and British Columbia saw the biggest employment increases in June, gaining 7,300 and 8,900 jobs, respectively, while New Brunswick lost 5,200 jobs, and Prince Edward Island lost 1,100.
At 11.2 per cent, New Brunswick had the highest unemployment rate in the country for the first time while Newfoundland and Labrador saw its unemployment rate dip to just below 11 per cent to 10.9, a significant decrease of 1.9 percentage points from a year ago, the biggest year-on-year decline in the country.
Ontario's unemployment rate inched up slightly in June, rising 0.2 percentage points to 7.5 per cent. Employment was up 1.6 per cent in the province compared with a year ago. An increase in part-time work in the province was offset by a decline in full-time work, which was also true for the country as a whole.
The labour force survey did not capture the effects of the floods in southern Alberta, which hit the province at the end of June after Statistics Canada's reporting period.
Professional, science and technical jobs up
Professional, scientific and technical industries saw some of the biggest growth, gaining 27,000 jobs in June. Employment in those areas grew by 4.9 per cent from a year ago.
Accommodation and food services lost 20,000 jobs in June, and employment in the information, culture and recreation sectors was down by 15,000 jobs.
Employment in the construction industry remain unchanged in June but increased 6.2 per cent year-over-year. Statistics Canada said employment in the sector has been on an upward trend since the autumn of 2012.
The manufacturing sector, which was hit hard earlier in the year, losing 71,000 jobs in the first three months of 2013, seems to have slowed, with a loss of only 4,200 jobs in June.
Canadian workers have seen a modest increase in hourly wages and are earning on average 2.2 per cent more than a year ago.
Friday's numbers suggested a more positive outlook than economists had been predicting. Economists at Canada's major banks were anticipating losses of between 7,.500 and 10,000 jobs in June.
U.S. unemployment rate also unchanged
The U.S. also released its unemployment figures Friday. Its unemployment rate remained similarly unchanged at 7.6 per cent, but employment increased by 195,000 in June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.
The job gains were in line with the monthly average of 182,000 for the last 12 months.
The biggest job gains were in sectors related to leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, health care, and financial services.
Almost 37 per cent of the unemployed in the U.S. in June were long-term unemployed, meaning they have been jobless for 27 weeks or more.
The number of part-time workers — who were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job — increased last month, rising by 322,000 to 8.2 million.
Private-sector employees earned a little more in June, with average hourly earnings rising by 10 cents to $24.01 US. In the past 12 months, U.S. workers have seen average hourly earnings have rise by 51 cents, or 2.2 per cent.