Unemployment rate falls to 6.9 per cent

Gains in natural resources, agriculture, finance, real estate

The Canadian economy created almost 12,000 net new jobs in September as fewer young people looking for work also helped slightly reduce the unemployment rate, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The unemployment rate was 6.9 per cent for the month, down 0.2 percentage points.

It was the first time since December 2008 that it has been below seven per cent.

“Amid all the to-ing and fro-ing in Canada’s headline job tally so far in 2013, the underlying picture that has emerged is one of moderate gains — certainly a bit cooler than in recent years, but enough to trim the jobless rate,” Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter wrote in a note.

The lacklustre jobs report followed a move by the Bank of Canada last week to lower its forecasts for economic growth in the second half of 2013 and possibly for next year.

Senior deputy governor Tiff Macklem said the third quarter will likely show an economy that advanced at a more moderate pace of 2.0 to 2.5 per cent.

The central bank had earlier forecast a pace of 3.8 per cent.

The number of jobs was up 2,800 in New Brunswick and down 3,200 in Saskatchewan while there was little change in the other provinces.

Despite the drop in the number of jobs in Saskatchewan, the province matched Alberta for the lowest provincial unemployment rate at 4.3 per cent.

The unemployment rate in Ontario fell 0.2 percentage points to 7.3 per cent, while Quebec’s unemployment rate slipped 0.3 percentage points to 7.6 per cent as fewer young people looked for work.

The number of private sector employees was up 74,000, but that was offset by a drop of 45,000 in the number of self employed.

Industries that saw gains included natural resources, agriculture, finance, insurance, real estate and leasing.

There were 19,000 new jobs in natural resources and a gain of 8,500 in agriculture.

There were 26,000 fewer jobs in manufacturing in September and 17,000 fewer in public administration.

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