OTTAWA – Canada’s economy generated a surprisingly strong 59,300 new jobs last month, almost all full time and in the private sector, Statistics Canada said Friday.
The unexpectedly robust performance dropped the country’s unemployment rate 0.2 points to 7.2 per cent, the lowest it has been since June.
The strength of the November report was a welcome surprise.
Economists had anticipated a modest about 10,000 net gain as the economy weathers considerable headwinds from abroad — notably Europe, the United States and China.
In the third quarter, Canada posted the weakest quarter of growth — 0.6 per cent — in more than a year and analysts expect only a modest bounce-back during the current fourth quarter.
Statistics Canada said with November’s pick-up, employment gains in Canada have reached 294,000, mostly full-time, over the past 12 months, a relatively health outcome.
By industry, employment rose about 28,000 in the accommodation and food services industries, while retail and wholesale trade increased by about 25,000, and professional, scientific and technical services picked up 23,000.
But manufacturing had another bad month, shedding 20,000 workers. There were also 15,000 fewer workers in the other services category.
CIBC World Markets economist Avery Shenfeld said that November’s strong gain were a good sign, although he said it was less positive that all the gains were in the service sector while there were fewer manufacturing and construction jobs.
“Still, the report represented a splash of good news that has been in short supply in recent months,” Shenfeld said in a brief note.
Canada’s dollar was up about a quarter of a cent against the U.S. dollar after the jobs report, rising to about 101.14 cents US.
Regionally, Ontario saw the most improvement with a pick-up of 32,000 jobs, dropping the province’s unemployment rate 0.4 points to 7.9. Quebec gained about 18,000 jobs and Alberta 10,000.