Canada added 21,000 jobs last month, pushing jobless rate down to 5.2%
Number of jobs grew even as workforce shrank
Canada's economy gained 21,000 jobs even as the labour force shrank by the same amount, Statistics Canada reported Friday.
The jobless rate moved down two-tenths of a percentage point to 5.2 per cent, the data agency said.
That happened because while the number of new jobs wasn't overly big, the uptick happened as more than 20,000 people left the labour force. That means they voluntarily chose to not look for work during the month.
Prior to last month, the economy had lost jobs for three months in a row — more than 104,000 lost in total. So September's hiring means the economy still has fewer people working today than there were in May.
By sector, the education and health-care sectors were sources of strength, while manufacturing, transportation and warehousing lost jobs.
Economist Royce Mendes with Desjardins singled out the education sector in particular, noting that the sector unexpectedly lost jobs in August, only to gain back 46,000 in September. "So the gain in September can't be viewed as a true reacceleration in employment," he said. "Over the past four months employment has now declined."
The construction sector was slightly down, losing about 3,330 jobs during the month, but overall, those in the industry say there is strong demand for workers.
Jason Ottey, a spokesperson for construction union LiUNA Local 183 in the Greater Toronto Area, says the industry is trying to train new workers up to speed in a hurry. "There are going to be dips in terms of the amount of work that's going to be available but over the long term we'll reach a point of labour market equal equilibrium," he told CBC News in an interview. "We've got enough work in this region to sustain our market for generations."
Average hourly wage up by 5.2 per cent
Wages continue to inch higher, but for the most part not by enough to offset the impact of inflation. Across all industries, the average hourly wage was $31.67 in September. That's up by 5.2 per cent in the past year, which compares with an inflation rate of seven per cent.
Some industries are seeing more wage gains than others, however, as average wages for people who work professional, scientific and technical industries have risen by 9.1 per cent in the past 12 months. On the low end, the average wage for those in the finance, insurance and real estate sector is up by just 2.4 per cent.
Arlene Kish, an economist with S&P Global Market Intelligence, says the central bank will take the latest data on jobs and wages as a sign that the economy can withstand more rate hikes.
"Consumer price and wage inflation rates are too high," she said. "The economy needs to cool. Given what is unfolding outside of Canada's borders, it will be hard to avoid a recession here at home."
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