Canada Jobless Rate Unexpectedly Falls as Labor Force Shrinks

2016-12-02 09:55:10

By Greg Quinn, Bloomberg News

Canada’s unemployment rate fell for the first time in five months in November as people dropped out of the labor force and companies added part-time workers.

The rate declined to 6.8 percent after holding at 7 percent in the prior three months, Statistics Canada said Friday in Ottawa. Employment climbed by 10,700 and another 27,600 left the labor force, most of them in Quebec.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected the jobless rate would be unchanged and employment would decline by 15,000.

The fourth straight monthly jobs gain is another boost to an economy healing from a collapse in commodity prices and business investment. Output growth rebounded to a 3.5 percent pace in the third quarter, and Governor Stephen Poloz said Monday he would only cut his 0.5 percent benchmark interest rate if there was another shock. His next rate decision is Wednesday.

The report underlined the shift in the economy linked to the oil crash. Unemployment in the energy hub of Alberta surged to the highest in more than two decades at 9 percent, and in the manufacturing region of Quebec it fell to a record low of 6.2 percent. The labor force in the mostly French-speaking province declined by 20,300, the largest drop since December 2014.

Service companies hired 31,200 workers, with almost half of those, or 13,600, in the finance industry. Goods producers cut back by 20,600, as manufacturing jobs dropped by 11,900 and construction fell 14,400.

Nationwide, part-time employment rose by 19,400 in November and full-time positions declined by 8,700, Statistics Canada said. Over the past 12 months part-time work has grown by 6.4 percent and full-time has fallen 0.2 percent.

The number of hours worked rose 1.1 percent in November from a year earlier. Average hourly wages of permanent employees grew 1.5 percent from a year earlier, slower than the 1.8 percent pace in October.

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