Canada's job market roared back to life in September, StatsCan says.
The unemployment rate dropped to 6.8 per cent, the lowest rate since December 2008, as the economy added 74,000 jobs, nearly all of them full time.
Economists had expected the economy to create 20,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate to hold steady at seven per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.
The new numbers paint a more positive picture of Canada's labour market over the past year. Economists, including at the Bank of Canada, had noted that job growth was well below the levels needed to keep up with population growth. But with September's numbers, the number of jobs is up 0.8 per cent over the past 12 months -- not particularly impressive, but closer to the levels needed.
Ontario and the oil-producing provinces — Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland — were the only provinces to see significant job growth in September, StatsCan said.
Ontario added the most jobs with 24,700 new positions, dropping its unemployment rate down by three-tenths of a percentage point to 7.1 per cent.
New Brunswick was the only province that saw its unemployment rate increase last month - rising 0.9 percentage points to 9.6 per cent.
"Adjusted to the [different way of measuring unemployment] in the United States, the unemployment rate in Canada was 5.9 per cent in September, the same as the US rate," StatsCan said.
"In the 12 months to September, the unemployment rate in Canada edged down 0.2 percentage points, while the rate in the United States fell 1.3 percentage points."
Youth jobs soared by an impressive 43,000 in September, but because youth jobs were in decline for much of the year, the year-on-year gain is just 29,000. The youth unemployment rate still increased by 0.1 percentage points to 13.5 per cent as more young people looked for work.
The report found that more people were employed in food services and accommodation, health care and social assistance, construction, natural resources, finance, insurance, real estate and leasing.
On the other hand, the agency says the economy lost jobs last month in educational services.
Statistics Canada says the last time the economy added such a large number of jobs was May 2013 when it created 89,500 positions, the majority of which were full time.
The September gain follows a loss of 11,000 jobs for August.
A Bank of Canada survey released Friday found Canadian firms, particularly exporters, have a brighter outlook thanks to a "modestly firmer demand" amid increased business with their neighbours to the south.
"Some indicate that strengthening U.S. demand has already had an impact on their sales," said the Bank of Canada's autumn Business Outlook Survey.
The report also suggested businesses across the country, and in all sectors, expected to hire more workers over the coming year. The survey found that 54 per cent of companies expected their level of employment to be higher over the next year compared to the last 12 months.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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