Canadian job market stalls; U.S. posts surprising gains
Published Friday, November 2, 2012 8:39AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, November 2, 2012 10:44PM EDT
Canada’s labour market stalled in October with an unchanged unemployment rate of 7.4 per cent, but some analysts say the latest numbers should not raise alarms.
Although only 1,800 new jobs were added last month, Royal Bank of Canada’s assistant chief economist says the Canadian economy is still holding up.
The most recent figures from Statistics Canada may be “flat,” but they follow “two months of really strong gains,” Dawn Desjardins told CTV News Channel Friday.
“I think it’s still OK,” she said, noting that 230,000 full-time jobs have been created in Canada over the last 12 months, many of them in the service sector.
South of the border, the latest financial reports surprised economists as the U.S. added 171,000 jobs, all of them in the private sector. Hiring in August and September also turned out to be stronger than previously reported.
However, the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 7.9 per cent from 7.8 per cent in September, mainly because more people began looking for work.
"The big story today is the U.S. job numbers, which generally were better than expected," said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist with BMO Capital Markets.
"We're not pounding the ground on this one, but between the upturn in the housing sector in the U.S. and somewhat better jobs picture, there are more grounds for optimism and that will spill into Canada."
The news gave the Canadian dollar a boost on the stock markets Thursday as it jumped 0.12 of a cent to US100.44.
In a statement, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said the Canadian labour market is still chugging along.
"While this month's numbers are modest, I'm pleased to see our economy continues to create jobs," he said. "We have more than 820,000 net new jobs created since July 2009, with most of those full-time and in the private sector."
However, Scotiabank economist Derek Holt noted that the number of total hours worked dropped by 0.3 per cent in October, while the number of unemployed Canadians rose by 16,200.
The Statistics Canada report also showed that employment in the private sector fell by 20,300 jobs and 14,900 jobs in the self-employment category.
The biggest losses were reported in the agriculture sector, which shed about 16,000 jobs.
The public sector, on the other hand, gained 36,900 jobs.
The biggest job gains overall were reported in Quebec, which added 20,100 new jobs while the biggest losses were seen in British Columbia, with 10,900 fewer jobs.
Students and youth are among those hard hit by the volatile job market, Adam Awad of the Canadian Federation of Students told CTV News Channel.
“It’s frustrating…students are obviously having a hard time getting jobs,” he said, noting that many of them carry high student debts while only working part-time or not at all.
Students are trying to break into a “job market that’s largely full,” Awad said, and many end up taking jobs that are unrelated to their field of study just to pay the bills.
With files from The Canadian Press