Canadian job growth in November blows past estimates
Canada’s unemployment rate dropped to a 40-year low in November as the country added a whopping 94,100 jobs, far surpassing estimates of 10,000 positions, Statistics Canada said Friday.
The country’s unemployment rate fell to 5.6 per cent, the lowest level since StatCan started measuring comparable data in 1976. The unemployment rate in October stood at 5.8 per cent.
The latest jobs data wasn’t all good news though, as the report showed that year-over-year average hourly wage growth for permanent employees continued to drop in November to 1.46 per cent – the weakest reading since July 2017.
Here’s a look at what economists are saying about November’s jobs data:
“What a relief. Thank goodness … It’s going to add a little bit more optimism in this Canadian story, after a week where [Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz] spent a lot of time telling us that things were looking worse than they thought it was. Now the big problem, however, before we get ahead of ourselves and start celebrating, is that wage number. If wages are decelerating, this is going to be the sixth consecutive month that we see wage growth slow. That’s problematic and that speaks to some of the issues related to 2019: A slower consumer and the capacity to absorb higher interest rates against income growth that’s slowing.”
- Frances Donald, head of macroeconomic strategy, Manulife Asset Management
“The random-number generator that is the Canadian Labour Force Survey spat out a massive reading for November … The large gain in jobs will keep a January rate hike on the table for now, but we'll need to see similarly positive evidence from other indicators and no major reversal in the next jobs report.”
- Royce Mendes, director and senior economist, CIBC Capital Markets
“The Canadian economy needed a bit of good news, and today's job report qualifies. As always, a grain of salt is needed when interpreting this volatile series, but there really is little to complain about in today's data.”
- Brian DePratto, senior economist, TD Economics
“The 94,000 surge in employment was nine times stronger than the consensus forecast, but the gains were led partly by Alberta where the outlook has recently deteriorated markedly. Meanwhile, the further drop in wage growth leaves scope for the Bank of Canada to err on the side of caution in the coming months.”
- Stephen Brown, senior Canada economist, Capital Economics
“If there was one fly in the chardonnay, it was wages, which decelerated sharply to 1.7 per cent year-over-year from a 2.2 per cent clip in the prior month (and were down slightly month-over-month, seasonally adjusted) — that’s the weakest pace of wage growth since mid-2017… There no disputing that this was an exceptionally strong employment which, along with yesterday’s solid trade data, should make the data-dependent Bank of Canada rest easier.”
- Robert Kavcic, director and senior economist, BMO Capital Markets