October 10, 2014
Jobless rate falls to 6.8 per cent, lowest level in nearly 6 years
OTTAWA — The latest Canadian labour data suggests the job market bounced back in a big way last month, generating 74,100 net new positions and knocking the unemployment rate down to its lowest level in nearly six years.
The September gain, which follows a loss of 11,000 jobs in August, includes the creation of 69,300 full-time positions, according to the monthly Statistics Canada employment report released Friday.
The job data came out the same day the Bank of Canada released survey results that found Canadian businesses expected to hire more workers and boost equipment investments during the coming year.
Economists had expected the economy to create 20,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate to hold steady at seven per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.
“I think there’s no doubt that it’s a strong report in September, which is encouraging,” said Leslie Preston, an economist with TD Economics.
“Overall, hiring in the third quarter was actually pretty strong, it was one of the strongest quarters we’ve seen in a couple of years. So, we’re encouraged that momentum, after a year of flat hiring, is starting to build in Canada’s job market.”
Canada’s statistical agency said the unemployment rate for September fell by 0.2 percentage points to 6.8 per cent – its lowest since December 2008.
Statistics Canada says the last time the economy added such a large number of jobs was May 2013 when it created 89,500 positions, the majority of which were full time.
But Preston warned the recent month-to-month roller coaster in the employment data could mean encouraging figures might evaporate just as quickly as they appeared.
“The worry, of course, is that given the seesaw pattern in employment over the past year, that these gains could be erased next month given the recent trends in the survey,” she said.
Canada’s flagship labour survey has produced volatile results in recent months.
Looking at the previous six surveys, StatCan showed the economy shedding 11,000 net jobs in August, creating 42,000 in July, losing 9,400 in June, adding 25,800 in May, dropping 28,900 in April and producing 42,900 in March.
As a result, BMO chief economist Douglas Porter warned Friday’s “highly impressive” findings for September could have a brief shelf life.
“Given the rising turmoil in the rest of the world, not to mention growing questions over the reliability of the jobs data, these results may not have much lasting impact,” Porter wrote Friday in a note.
“In an increasingly uncertain world, we can always count on the certainty of Canadian employment to surprise and confound.”
The report says the bulk of the jobs were created in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador, while the other provinces saw only small changes. Ontario added the most jobs with 24,700 new positions, dropping its unemployment rate down by three-tenths of a percentage point to 7.1 per cent.
New Brunswick was the only province that saw its unemployment rate increase last month – rising 0.9 percentage points to 9.6 per cent.
The report found that more people were employed in food services and accommodation, health care and social assistance, construction, natural resources, finance, insurance, real estate and leasing.
On the other hand, the agency says the economy lost jobs last month in educational services.
The report says young Canadians, aged 15 to 24, held 43,000 more jobs in September, but the youth unemployment rate still increased by 0.1 percentage points to 13.5 per cent as more young people looked for work.
Canada’s finance minister was happy with the findings.
“I am pleased to see September’s strong job growth that brings us to our lowest unemployment rate since 2008,” Joe Oliver said Friday in a statement.
The Bank of Canada survey released Friday found Canadian firms, particularly exporters, have a brighter outlook thanks to a “modestly firmer demand” amid increased business with their neighbours to the south.
“Some indicate that strengthening U.S. demand has already had an impact on their sales,” said the Bank of Canada’s autumn Business Outlook Survey.
The report also suggested businesses across the country, and in all sectors, expected to hire more workers over the coming year. The survey found that 54 per cent of companies expected their level of employment to be higher over the next year compared to the last 12 months.
The study also found that businesses intended to increase their investments on machinery and equipment over the next year.
A quick look at the numbers (previous month in brackets):
Unemployment rate: 6.8 per cent (7.0)
Employment rate: 61.5 per cent (61.3)
Labour force participation rate: 66.0 per cent (66.0)
Number unemployed: 1,297,700 (1,342,600)
Number working: 17,925,500 (17,851,400)
Youth (15-24 years) unemployment: 13.5 per cent (13.4)
Men (25 plus) unemployment: 5.9 per cent (6.2)
Women (25 plus) unemployment: 5.1 per cent (5.5)
Here’s what happened provincially (previous month in brackets):
Newfoundland 12.7 (13.5)
Prince Edward Island 9.5 (10.0)
Nova Scotia 8.6 (8.8)
New Brunswick 9.6 (8.7)
Quebec 7.6 (7.7)
Ontario 7.1 (7.4)
Manitoba 5.3 (5.5)
Saskatchewan 3.5 (4.2)
Alberta 4.4 (4.9)
British Columbia 6.1 (6.1)
Statistics Canada also released seasonally adjusted, three-month moving average unemployment rates for major cities but cautions the figures may fluctuate widely because they are based on small statistical samples. (Previous month in brackets.)
St. John’s, N.L. 6.5 (6.4)
Halifax 6.0 (5.8)
Moncton, N.B. 6.7 (6.5)
Saint John, N.B. 7.7 (6.9)
Saguenay, Que. 9.4 (9.5)
Quebec 5.7 (5.7)
Sherbrooke, Que. 6.8 (6.9)
Trois-Rivieres, Que. 6.0 (6.8)
Montreal 8.4 (8.6)
Gatineau, Que. 7.2 (6.9)
Ottawa 6.8 (6.7)
Kingston, Ont. 7.8 (7.1)
Peterborough, Ont. 7.3 (8.0)
Oshawa, Ont. 7.7 (7.7)
Toronto 8.2 (8.3)
Hamilton, Ont. 6.0 (6.3)
St. Catharines-Niagara, Ont. 7.3 (7.9)
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Ont. 6.7 (6.4)
Brantford, Ont. 6.7 (6.2)
Guelph, Ont. 6.3 (7.0)
London, Ont. 7.4 (7.5)
Windsor, Ont. 8.7 (9.0)
Barrie, Ont. 5.8 (6.2)
Sudbury, Ont. 6.0 (6.3)
Thunder Bay, Ont. 4.9 (4.7)
Winnipeg 6.1 (6.1)
Regina 2.8 (3.1)
Saskatoon 4.2 (4.4)
Calgary 4.6 (5.5)
Edmonton 5.6 (5.6)
Kelowna, B.C. 5.6 (5.4)
Abbotsford, B.C. 8.1 (8.4)
Vancouver 5.8 (5.7)
Victoria 5.2 (5.3)
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