Canada’s labour market adds more jobs than expected
Canada’s labour market unexpectedly added 108,000 jobs in October as wage gains accelerated, potentially easing worries the economy is headed for a major slowdown.
The unemployment rate held steady at 5.2 per cent in October as labour force gains offset increased employment, Statistics Canada reported Friday in Ottawa. Total hours worked increased 0.7 per cent, the biggest gain since June. The employment gains beat estimates for a small 10,000 increase during the month.
The numbers add to a small gain in September and suggest the nation’s labour market has emerged from a slumber that saw employment fall over the summer, which had been stoking worries the economy may be heading into a recession. The strong labour report will now raise concern the labour market remains too tight and policy makers will need to reaccelerate efforts to slow demand.
The strength of the labour market will complicate the Bank of Canada’s job in trying to cool the economy. Policymakers led by Governor Tiff Macklem already viewed the jobs market as overheated even with months of losses observed earlier.
Average hourly wages were up 5.6 per cent from a year earlier, accelerating from a pace of 5.2 per cent in September. It marks the fifth straight month of above 5 per cent year-over-year growth in the average hourly wages.
The rise in employment extended a rebound in September, and erases three consecutive months of losses from June to August, during which the economy shed more than 113,000 jobs. The gains last month brought employment back to a level on par with the most recent peak observed in May 2022.
All of the new net employment in October was in full-time work, boosting year-over-year gains to 472,000.
Gains in employment were broad based, and led by the construction sector which added 24,600 jobs on the month. Private sector employment rose by 73,800 in October, one of the strongest increases in months.