Big job gains push unemployment rate down
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Friday, May 7, 2010 10:54AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 1:36AM EDT
The Canadian economy created more new jobs last month than Statistics Canada has recorded since the 1970s, surging back from the losses of the 2008-09 recession and vastly exceeding economists predictions for the recovery.
Statistics Canada reported Friday that nearly 109,000 new jobs were created in April, the highest monthly gain in total job numbers in more than 30 years and the biggest percentage gain since August, 2002.
Pat Bolland of the Business News Network called the new job figures: "Incredible numbers: the best we've seen since 1976 ... and the forecast was for something like 21,000."
Bolland told CTV's News Channel Friday that most of the new jobs were part-time, about 65,000 according to Statistics Canada, while 44,000 full-time jobs were created, all in the private sector.
"Where are all those jobs coming from?" he said. "Well it's not from the manufacturing sector -- they lost 21,000 jobs there. Construction showed an increase of 24,000 jobs, but services were up 107,000 jobs there overall."
Economists had been expecting a much more modest job increase, but the Statistics Canada figures showed employment increased across all age groups and among both men and women.
"This is a very, very positive report on jobs in this country," Bolland said.
Since last July, when employment began regaining ground after months of steep losses, Canada has clawed back 285,000 of the 387,000 jobs lost to the recession.
And the April statistics are in line with other figures indicating that the Canadian economy is surging forward out of recession. There was a five per cent increase in output in the final quarter of 2009, and the first quarter of this year is thought to have advanced even more.
Bolland said there are still pitfalls ahead for the Canadian economy, particularly in the manufacturing sector. "But we're picking it up in other areas and that's an important note," he added.
And the outlook for future job creation looks positive, he said.
"The hours of work was up 1.1 per cent, and while wages haven't gone up that means that employers are basically squeezing their employees right now," Bolland said. "They're making them work a little bit longer and that's a good sign for the future because it means that eventually employers are going to have to say: 'We can't squeeze them any more. We're going to have to hire more people.'"
Because more Canadians went looking for work in April, the unemployment rate only dropped one-tenth of a point to 8.1 per cent.
However The Canadian employment numbers outpaced U.S. job creation in April, which saw expanded payrolls of about 290,000 but a higher jobless rate.
The U.S. Labor Department reported Friday that unemployment rose from 9.7 to 9.9 per cent, despite the higher than expected job creation numbers.
The higher unemployment rate was attributed to a surge in people looking for work -- an additional 805,000 job seekers came back into the labour force, perhaps feeling better about their prospects of finding work.
Almost all industries, with the exception of manufacturing, posted gains. And all provinces were in the plus column, Ontario leading the way with a 40,500 increase.
Other than Ontario, the biggest gains came in Quebec, with an increase 35,000; British Columbia, 13,000; Alberta, 10,000, and Manitoba, 7,000.