OTTAWA - Canada's recent strong jobs performance slowed to a crawl in October, as the economy managed a meagre 1,800 new jobs, not enough to nudge the unemployment rate off 7.4 per cent.

But it was the surprisingly strong number south of the border that impressed economists, with the U.S. reporting an above-consensus 171,000 additional jobs, all in the private sector.

As well, U.S. employment for September and August were revised upwards.

"The big story today is the U.S. job numbers, which generally were better than expected," said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist with BMO Capital Markets.

"We're not pounding the ground on this one, but between the upturn in the housing sector in the U.S. and somewhat better jobs picture, there are more grounds for optimism and that will spill into Canada."

The Canadian dollar jumped on the news and was up 0.23 to 100.57 cents US in mid-afternoon trading.

The muted Canadian performance was expected by economists, who calculated that following two outsized months when over 86,000 jobs were created, some payback was in order. The consensus was for a 5,000 gain, but some estimates were much higher and others predicted a decline.

Analysts reasoned with the economy known to be growing below two per cent, such monthly job increases were unsustainable.

In a statement sent to the media, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty took comfort in the fact there was still some life in the labour market, although he said too many Canadians still cannot find jobs.

"While this month’s numbers are modest, I’m pleased to see our economy continues to create jobs," he said. "We have more than 820,000 net new jobs created since July 2009, with most of those full time and in the private sector."

Mid-2009 marked the beginning of Canada's recovery from the deep recession that was sparked four years ago by a Wall Street financial crisis.

Scotiabank economist Derek Holt said Canada's jobs performance last month was a mixed bag.

"The optimistic angle is that recent job growth has been retained against concerns that a pay-back would ensure," he explained in a note to clients. "(But) That’s still possible over coming months."

He added that a key discouraging factor was the drop in total hours worked by 0.3 per cent in October, which will weigh on average incomes.

Meanwhile, the number of unemployed rose by 16,200 because more Canadians joined the work force during the month than could find jobs.

Other elements of the Statistics Canada report also pointed to overall weakness.

Employment in the private sector — regarded as the most indicative of economic strength — fell by 20,300 jobs.

Those was offset by strong gains of 36,900 in the public sector while the self-employment category fell by 14,900.

The October result brings the total of jobs created in Canada over the past 12 months to 229,000, all full-time, for a gain of 1.3 per cent, slightly below the growth rate in the economy.

In testimony before House and Senate committees this week, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney described Canada's labour market record since the 2008-09 recession as better than most advanced countries, but still below par. He noted there are still more Canadians wanting work than jobs available and many Canadians in part-time work who desire full-time employment.

According to analyst David Madani of Capital Economics, that dynamic is unlikely to turn around soon.

"The worsening economic outlook suggests that private sector employment gains in the coming months are likely to remain modest, with the unemployment rate likely resuming its upward trend," he said.

Statistics Canada said the biggest loss last month came in agriculture, which shed about 16,000 workers, while the biggest gain was in education services, which added 16,200. There was little change in the key industries of manufacturing, construction and natural resources.

Overall, the economy's goods producing industries lost 19,300 jobs, while the services sector added 21,000.

Regionally, there were as many provinces reporting increases in employment as decreases. The biggest gain was in Quebec, which saw 20,100 jobs added, while the biggest loss came in British Columbia, which reported 10,900 fewer jobs.

There were some notable swings in provincial unemployment rates, mostly due to the distribution of the 18,000 additional Canadians who were looking for work in October, as opposed to job gains or losses.

The unemployment rate rose by more than half a point in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Manitoba, while there were 0.3 percentage points drops in the rate in Quebec and B.C. to 7.7 and 6.7 per cent respectively.

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  • Mining, Oil and Gas Extraction: -3.7%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/121031/t121031a001-eng.htm">Huffington Post via StatsCan</a> Photo: AFP/Getty

  • Utilities: -1.7%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/121031/t121031a001-eng.htm">Huffington Post via StatsCan</a> Photo: Alamy

  • Public Administration: -1.0%

    Source: Huffington Post via StatsCan Photo: The Canadian Press

  • Transportation and Warehousing: 0.5%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/121031/t121031a001-eng.htm">Huffington Post via StatsCan</a> Photo: The Globe and Mail

  • Information and Cultural Industries: 1.0%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/121031/t121031a001-eng.htm">Huffington Post via StatsCan</a> Photo: The Canadian Press

  • Education Services: 1.1%

    Source: Huffington Post via StatsCan Photo: The Canadian Press

  • Arts, Entertainment and Recreation: 1.2%

    Source: Huffington Post via StatsCan Photo: Alamy

  • Health Care and Social Services: 1.8%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/121031/t121031a001-eng.htm">Huffington Post via StatsCan</a> Photo: The Canadian Press

  • Finance and Insurance: 1.9%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/121031/t121031a001-eng.htm">Huffington Post via StatsCan</a> Photo: The Canadian Press

  • Retail Trade : 2%

    Source: Huffington Post via StatsCan Photo: The Canadian Press

  • 18. Administrative and Support, Waste Management and Remediation Services: 2.5%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/121031/t121031a001-eng.htm">Huffington Post via StatsCan</a> Photo: Alamy

  • Accommodation and Food Services: 2.5%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/121031/t121031a001-eng.htm">Huffington Post via StatsCan</a> Photo: The Canadian Press

  • Construction: 2.6%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/121031/t121031a001-eng.htm">Huffington Post via StatsCan</a> Photo: The Canadian Press

  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services: 2.8%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/121031/t121031a001-eng.htm">Huffington Post via StatsCan</a> Photo: The Canadian Press

  • Fishing, Hunting and Trapping: 3.0%

    Fishing, hunting and trapping was one of three economic sectors to shrink in Canada from 2000 to 2011, losing six per cent of its value. Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/121031/t121031a001-eng.htm">Huffington Post via StatsCan</a> Photo: The Canadian Press

  • Forestry and Logging: 3.0%

    Source: Huffington Post via StatsCan Photo: The Canadian Press

  • Manufacturing: 3.0%

    Source: <a href="http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/121031/t121031a001-eng.htm">Huffington Post via StatsCan</a> Photo: Globe and Mail

  • Wholesale Trade: 3.1%

    Source: Huffington Post via StatsCan Photo: The Canadian Press



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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>