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May 11, 2018

Canada unexpectedly lost 1,100 jobs in April amid drop in part-time work

Canada's labour participation rate falls to levels last seen in 2000


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OTTAWA -- Wage growth hit its highest level in nearly six years last month as the economy posted a slight net loss of 1,100 jobs and an unemployment rate that held steady at 5.8 per cent.

Statistics Canada released a new jobs report Friday that showed average hourly wages in April were 3.6 per cent higher than they were a year earlier. It was the monthly reading's largest annual increase since October 2012.

The indicator, which is closely monitored by the Bank of Canada ahead of its interest-rate decisions, posted an annual increase of 3.3 per cent in March.

Signs that wage growth is strengthening could nudge the central bank closer to raising its trend-setting rate. The bank's next rate decision is scheduled for May 30.

Overall, the decline in jobs last month was so small the federal agency did not consider it statistically significant.

"Don't let the headline number fool you, this really wasn't that bad of a report," Brian DePratto, senior economist with TD Economics, wrote in a note to clients. "Full-time employment rose again, and the employee vs self-employment mix was encouraging. Wage growth was solid. The fly in the ointment was again hours worked, although this is less of a surprise this month given the soft headline jobs number."

The unemployment rate stayed at its record low of 5.8 per cent for a third-straight month. It matches its lowest mark since the agency started measuring the indicator in 1976.

The participation rate, however, edged down in April to 65.4 per cent, from 65.5 per cent in March, as fewer people looked for work.

The agency said the economy produced 28,800 full-time jobs last month and shed 30,000 part-time positions. The country also saw a decrease of 13,600 positions in the country's public sector, while the number of private-sector jobs rose by 28,000.

The goods-producing sector shed 15,900 positions, mostly in construction. Services sectors, meanwhile, created 14,800 jobs following big increases in professional, scientific and technical services as well as accommodation and food services.

The youth unemployment rate increased in April to 11.1 per cent following a net gain of 17,700 new jobs. The labour force participation rate for youth slipped to 63.4 per cent from 63.8 per cent.

Compared with 12 months earlier, the employment was up 1.5 per cent following the creation of 278,300 jobs, which was fuelled by 378,300 new full-time positions.

- With files from BNN Bloomberg 

Here are the jobless rates last month by province (numbers from the previous month in brackets):

   -- Newfoundland and Labrador 14.5 per cent (14.2)
   -- Prince Edward Island 11.2 (10.3)
   -- Nova Scotia 6.7 (7.4)
   -- New Brunswick 8.0 (8.0)
   -- Quebec 5.4 (5.6)
   -- Ontario 5.6 (5.5)
   -- Manitoba 6.1 (6.2)
   -- Saskatchewan 6.3 (5.8)
   -- Alberta 6.7 (6.3)
   -- British Columbia 5.0 (4.7)