Economists had been expecting a slight uptick of 11,000 jobs, so the showing came in higher than anticipated.
Much of the gains came in the form of new part-time jobs, Statistics Canada said Friday.
"Canada’s 34,000-job gain is not quite what it seems," Scotiabank economists Dov Ziegler and Derek Holt said.
Full-time employment contracted by more than 12,000 positions.
"The rebound was focused on part-time employment, which was down by a large amount last month and rebounded by 46,000 this month," they noted.
The unemployment rate held steady at 7.3 per cent.
The month showed an increase in jobs among older workers (defined by the agency as those 55 and older), while it fell among young people aged 15 to 24.
Ontario sheds jobs
Regionally, most provinces posted jobs gains, but employment fell by 25,000 in Ontario, leaving the province with roughly the same level of jobs it had this time last year.
That was offset by a 32,500 increase in jobs in Quebec, which had seen a sharp decline the previous month.
"There was less strength than meets the eye," BMO economist Doug Porter noted. "Effectively, the report was the mirror image of July.
"Perhaps the big story was the divergence between Canada and the U.S., the opposite of what was expected," Porter said.
Indeed, under the glare of a presidential election campaign, the U.S. economy created 96,000 jobs in August, official U.S. data revealed Friday.
The U.S. economy is roughly 10 times the size of Canada's, so 96,000 jobs is a relatively weak performance.