The last time Canada posted a monthly job loss was November 2011, Statistics Canada said Friday.
Economists were expecting a slight gain of 6,000 jobs and for the jobless rate to hold steady at 7.2 per cent.
"We weren’t surprised that the headline total was down," BMO economist Doug Porter noted, "but we are surprised by the details."
The economy actually added more than 21,300 full-time positions during the month. But that was more than offset by a loss of 51,600 part-time jobs.
Were it not for a surprising 11,700 new jobs in the education sector, the headline figure could have been much lower. (The education sector typically contracts during the summer as schools shut down.)
"The news might not get any better next month," Porter said. "Education jobs actually rose again, and may get hit hard next time."
Aside from education, Porter noted, most sectors posted large contractions, including:
- Retail jobs, down by 30,000.
- Manufacturing, down by 18,600 jobs.
- Natural resources, down by 9,000 jobs.
Regionally, employment declined in Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba as well as in Newfoundland and Labrador, while it increased in Prince Edward Island. There was little change in the other provinces.