OTTAWA - Canada's domestic economy turned in one of the strongest job creation months of the year in September, adding an eye-popping 52,100 new jobs that was five times more than economists expected.

But it was the labour data south of the border, which suggest the U.S. recovery is finally underway, that demanded the attention of economists and markets.

The U.S. Labor department said Friday morning that 114,000 new jobs were created in September, More importantly, it revised upwards its data for July and August — adding 86,000 jobs to those two months. For the three months, job creation averaged 146,000 and took the unemployment rate to 7.8 per cent, the lowest in four years.

The Canadian dollar jumped more than half a cent on the news to 102.62 cents US, and markets were solidly up in morning trading in both Toronto and New York before backing off later in the day.

"I think (the U.S.) is the bigger news today, even for Canada," said Bank of Montreal deputy chief economist Doug Porter.

"This is exactly what the Canadian economy needs right now because the consumer is close to being tapped out, housing doesn't have any more room to grow, the government sector is cutting back (and) business are understandably cautious. So what we really need now is exports and exports need the U.S. economy to get going."

Some supporters of Republican challenger Mitt Romney suggested a conspiracy inside the Labor Department to save U.S. President Barack Obama was afoot, but CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld says if the data was pumped up, something less sinister may be involved.

"The ... survey, like Canada’s monthly survey, is notorious for producing fleeting outliers, albeit not this large," he said.

"Based on grossing up the results of a monthly sample of Americans, and comparing it to the prior month’s sample, the resulting count is not nearly as reliable as the payrolls report," he said.

In another promising signal, the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants' third-quarter survey found that 46 per cent of senior executives expect the number of employees at their companies to increase in the next year. That's up slightly from 41 per cent in the second-quarter survey.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's office issued a statement that he was "encouraged" by the latest Canadian gains, noting that they bring to 820,000 the number of new jobs added since July 2009, when the economy started to recover from recession. Flaherty said it was the best job creation record in the G7.

The gain in Canada was the third biggest of the year and surprised the experts, which had expected a pickup of just 10,000 jobs.

But the gain wasn't enough to put a dent in the unemployment rate, which edged up one-tenth of a point to 7.4 per cent. That's because while thousands of Canadians found work in September, even more — 72,600 — joined the labour force.

Economist Erin Weir of the Progressive Economics Forum said the jump in Canadians entering the workforce suggests many "are still waiting in the wings" for prospects to improve.

Economists also pointed out that the details were not as strong as the headline suggests, including the fact that two-thirds of the new jobs where in the self-employment category.

Scotiabank's Derek Holt noted that aggregate hours worked actually declined 0.3 per cent despite there being more people working.

"It’s hours worked that get people paid so this is a significant dent against the headline. It’s not clear to me how this happened if headline and full-time jobs were up so solidly," he said.

Still, the pop in new jobs was unexpected given that most economic indicators of the past few months have presented a picture of a domestic economy struggling to maintain momentum amid a general slowdown around the world, particularly the United States, Europe and China.

September's increase brought the number of jobs created since last September to 175,000.

The report was even stronger than August's 34,000 jobs increase, which were all part-time.

Last month, the vast majority of new jobs were full-time and all in the private sector, although roughly two-thirds were in the self-employment category — jobs that economists say are often lower-paying and less productive.

Statistics Canada said most of the new jobs were taken by workers in the core 25-54 age group, and mostly by men in the first notable increase in employment among men since March of last year.

"With this increase, the employment level for core-aged men is back to its pre-recession peak of October 2008," the agency said, although the rate of employment remains slightly below that of four years ago.

Regionally, most of the action occurred in Ontario, which saw an increase of 31,600 jobs. Quebec and Manitoba also saw gains.

Statistics Canada said the biggest gains occurred in the retail and wholesale trade sectors, which saw some 34,000 jobs created, while the number of jobs in construction, which has been weak in recent months, rose by 29,000.

Work in the information, culture and recreation industries saw an increase of about 24,000, and there were about 8,700 new agriculture jobs in the month.

Detracting from the positives were the loss of 19,000 workers in a general category called other services and a 17,000 decrease in business, building and other support services.

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  • WORST: Administrative & support - 6

    Number of job seekers for every available job. Source: StatsCan

  • Manufacturing - 4.3

    Number of job seekers for every available job. Source: StatsCan

  • Education - 4.3

    Number of job seekers for every available job. Source: StatsCan

  • Construction - 3.9

    Number of job seekers for every available job. Source: StatsCan

  • Retail trade - 3.4

    Number of job seekers for every available job. Source: StatsCan

  • Professional, scientific & technical - 3.2

    Number of job seekers for every available job. Source: StatsCan

  • Accommodation and food services - 3

    Number of job seekers for every available job. Source: StatsCan

  • Wholesale trade - 2

    Number of job seekers for every available job. Source: StatsCan

  • BEST: Health care, social assistance - 1.4

    Number of job seekers for every available job. Source: StatsCan


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  • 7. Huge Regional Disparities

    Wood Mountain (includes oil rich Fort McMurray, pictured here) saw its employment level shoot up by 95% over the 2000 to 2011 period, while forestry based Miramichi suffered the biggest decline of 63% in job numbers.<br> <br> Two out of 33 Census Metropolitan Areas (Windsor and Thunder Bay) had fewer jobs in 2011 than in 2000 while 13 of 45 smaller cities were in this situation. In 2011, only 5.5% of the labour force in Wood Mountain were unemployed while 16.4% were unemployed in Miramichi.<br> <br> -- <a href="http://peoplepatternsconsulting.com/pub_can_job12.html" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>

  • 6. Jobs Up, Wages Down

    The unemployment rate jumped from a near record low of 6.1% in October 2008 to a high of 8.7% high in August 2009 and has declined slowly since then to 7.2% in March 2012. In spite of the recovery, unemployment duration increased again in 2011.<br> <br> There was a another slight decrease in the number of discouraged job searchers in 2011, who just quit looking because they believed that nothing suitable was available, but their numbers were still 50% above pre-recession levels. Actual hours worked at all jobs advanced to 36.4 hours in 2011 up 24 minutes from the all-time low of 36 hours in 2009.<br> <br> Real (after removing inflation) average weekly wages fell by 0.5% in 2011 following an increase of only 0.2% in 2010. This helps explain why the number of workers who have more than one job climbed for a third straight year to a record 5.4% in 2011. Women (6.4%) are now more likely to have a second job than are men (4.5%) while both were the same (4.6%) in 1989.<br> <br> -- <a href="http://peoplepatternsconsulting.com/pub_can_job12.html" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>

  • 5. Bad News For Working Parents

    In 2011, the employment rate for lone-parent mothers (55%), lone-parent fathers (79%) and mothers with an employed husband present (70%) all with children under the age of six continued to be below their prerecession peaks. The only exception in 2011 was for women with a non-employed husband for whom the employment rate (53%) was above the pre-recession rate.<br> <br> The "monetary" value of childcare remains undervalued. In 2011, childcare and home support workers working full-time (30 hours or more per week) earned an average of $598 per week. This was the third lowest behind full-time chefs and cooks ($545) and retail sales persons ($589). On a more detailed level, babysitters, nannies and parent helpers were the lowest paid occupation from among over 700 occupations in the 2006 Census.<br> <br> -- <a href="http://peoplepatternsconsulting.com/pub_can_job12.html" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>

  • 4. Manufacturing Still Struggling

    After eight years of decline, the manufacturing sector created only 15,900 jobs in 2011. Employment in 2011 was about where it was in 1993 and down by 532,200 jobs since the peak in 2004.<br> <br> Based on employment growth over the 2000 to 2011 period, the most rapidly expanding industries in Canada were mining and oil and gas extraction (+70.3%) and construction (+56.4%). Other leading growth industries (all service related) included professional, scientific, technical services (+39.9%), health care and social assistance (+37.9%) and real estate and leasing (+30.1%). <br> <br> -- <a href="http://peoplepatternsconsulting.com/pub_can_job12.html" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>

  • 3. Labour Shortages

    For 2011 as a whole, eight (35%) out of the 23 major occupations were in a shortage situation, compared to six occupations in the previous year but still much less than the 10 occupations before the recession began. When examined from an industry basis, there were shortages in five (25%) of the 20 sectors in 2011, up from four during the previous year. <br> <br> In 2011, the unemployment rate among professional occupations in health, nurse supervisors and registered nurses stood at only 0.8%. Unemployment was only 1.9% in technical, assisting and related occupations in health and in professional occupations in business and finance. Demographics point to more shortages in the medium-term.<br> <br> -- <a href="http://peoplepatternsconsulting.com/pub_can_job12.html" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>

  • 2. Alberta - The Youth Job-Bringer

    Based on a ranking of 10 youth related indicators, Alberta was the best place for youth in 2011 followed by Saskatchewan in 2nd spot and Quebec in 3rd spot. Next in line were Manitoba (4th), Prince Edward Island (5th), British Columbia (6th), Ontario (7th), New Brunswick (8th), Newfoundland (9th) and Nova Scotia (10th).<br> <br> At the national level, recession is still the reality for youth. Youth employment plummeted by 195,400 jobs in 2009 and 2010 combined but only 19,300 jobs came back in 2011. In 2011, employment rates for all youth slipped further to 55.4% (lowest since 2000), was flat for returning students working in the summer (53.8%) but down a lot for full-time students who were working during the school year (36.6%). <br> <br> In 2011, the unemployment rate improved slightly for all youth (14.2%) but worsened for returning students working in the summer (17.4%).<br> <br> -- <a href="http://peoplepatternsconsulting.com/pub_can_job12.html" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>

  • 1. A Greying Workforce

    More and more seniors are working longer. The percentage of those aged 60-64 who are employed rose from 34% in 1989 to 47% in 2011 ... a new record. The percentage of those aged 65-69 who are still working jumped from 11% in 1989 to 23% in 2011 ... another new record. The percentage of the 70 and over group who are still working increased to 6% in 2011 ... one more record high. <br> <br> Over the 1989 to 2011 period, the labour force aged 45-54 more than doubled (+108%), those aged 55-64 also more than doubled (+133%) while those aged 65 and older grew even faster (+180%). <br> <br> The recession delayed retirement for many, as record numbers of persons 60 and older remained in the paid workforce. The median retirement age among men (63.2 years) rose for a third consecutive year in 2011 and was the highest since 2003. The median age of retirement among women increased to 61.4 years in 2011 and is the second highest since 1994.<br> <br> -- <a href="http://peoplepatternsconsulting.com/pub_can_job12.html" target="_hplink">People Patterns Consulting</a>