Canada’s unemployment rate plunged to 6.8 per cent in September, its lowest level in nearly six years, Statistics Canada says.
Ontario enjoyed the biggest gain, adding 24,700 new jobs, pushing the province’s unemployment rate down to 7.1 per cent from 7.4 per cent in August, the federal agency said Friday.
The labour market data delivered some much-needed positive news at the end of a week that saw turmoil in financial markets amid fresh worries about slowing global economic growth. Given Canada’s dependence on exports, however, the pleasant surprise could be short-lived, economists said.
Ontario’s economic development minister Brad Duguid also hailed the monthly employment numbers and noted Ontario has now created 514,000 net new jobs since the 2009 global recession.
The labour market report beat economists’ consensus forecast for 20,000 new jobs and an unchanged jobless rate in September, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters. While the data was encouraging, economists said they remain wary of the highly volatile monthly data. September’s outsize gain follows an 11,000 net job loss in August, after a surprising 41,700 rise in July.
September’s employment growth “suggests that the economy might finally be catching fire. One month of data, however, doesn’t make a trend,” Capital Markets Canadian economist David Madani wrote in a report to clients.
Over the longer term, the numbers are headed in the right direction, RBC assistant chief economist Paul Ferley wrote in a note to clients. The labour market report is in line with expectations Canada’s economy will grow 3.1 per cent in the third quarter, chiefly on the strength of rising exports to the U.S, Ferley wrote.RBC predicts the Bank of Canada could begin raising its trend-setting interest rate by next spring, the second quarter of 2015.
In September, more Canadians found work in food services and accommodation, health care and social assistance, construction, natural resources, finance, insurance, real estate and leasing, Statistics Canada said.
Fewer jobs were created in educational services, possibly due to the impact of the teachers’ strike in British Columbia as school boards likely delayed contract hiring, economists said.
Younger Canadians made gains, as 43,000 new jobs went to people age 15 to 24 years. However, the youth unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 13.5 per cent as more young people looked for work, Statistics Canada said.
Ontario’s unemployment rate is moving in the right direction, hitting a near six-year low. In other encouraging economic news, the Bank of Canada’s quarterly business survey and senior loans officer survey, both released Friday, suggest Canadian companies are becoming increasingly optimistic.
September’s jobless rate (previous month in brackets)
With files from The Canadian Press
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)
St. John’s, N.L. 6.5 (6.4)
Ottawa 6.8 (6.7)
Kingston 7.8 (7.1)
Peterborough .3 (8.0)
Oshawa 7.7 (7.7)
Toronto 8.2 (8.3)
Hamilton 6.0 (6.3)
St. Catherine’s-Niagara 7.3 (7.9)
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo 6.7 (6.4)
Brantford 6.7 (6.2)
Guelph 6.3 (7.0)
London 7.4 (7.5)
Windsor 8.7 (9.0)
Barrie 5.8 (6.2)
Source: The Star