Employment held steady in October, Statistics Canada says


The number of people working in Canada edged lower in October as the manufacturing and construction sectors lost jobs, while the unemployment rate held steady at 5.5 per cent.

Statistics Canada said Friday the economy lost 1,800 jobs in October, following gains of 54,000 jobs in September and 81,000 in August.

The number of full-time jobs fell by 16,100, offset in part by a gain of 14,300 part-time jobs.

Economists on average expected the economy to add a total of 15,900 jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

The manufacturing sector lost 23,000 jobs, mostly in Ontario, while the construction sector lost 21,000. Employment in the “other services” industry also fell by 18,000.

The losses were offset in part by an increase of 20,000 jobs working in public administration and 18,000 in finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing.

‘Notorious for its ups and downs’

The jobs report comes after the Bank of Canada’s decision late last month to keep its key interest rate on hold at 1.75 per cent.

In making its decision, the central bank said inflation was on target and the domestic economy has held up well in many respects, even though it’s feeling the negative effects of slowing global growth.

“The Labour Force Survey is notorious for its ups and downs,” said Brendan Bernard, economist at job site Indeed Canada, in an email. “This month’s report was on the weaker side, although not enough to change the larger story. The softer numbers in October were concentrated in many of the areas that showed strength in August and September: employment rates in Ontario and Quebec, and in full-time work.

“All in all, a cooler momentum to start the fourth quarter. Nonetheless, the trend of solid numbers we’ve seen over the past year remains intact.”

Despite the small decline in the number of jobs, wage growth in October held steady. Average hourly wage growth, year-over-year, for all employees was 4.3 per cent for the month, the same as September.

Wage growth continues to accelerate because the labour market remains tight, said ZipRecruiter labour economist Julia Pollak in a written statement about the latest job numbers. “That means Canadians are seeing real increases in their purchasing power.”

Pollak also said the job numbers in October were negatively affected by the General Motors strike.

The number of self-employed workers in October fell by 27,800, while public sector employees rose by 28,700. The number of private sector employees fell by 2,700.

Regionally, B.C. added 15,000 jobs, while Newfoundland and Labrador added 2,700 jobs.

On a year-over-year basis, employment was up by 443,000, an increase of 2.4 per cent.


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