BUSINESS

Canadian Employment Surges By 'Massive' 77,000 Full-Time Jobs In May

06/09/2017 08:50 EDT

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the economy added 54,500 jobs in May, as full-time employment surged. The national unemployment rate was 6.6 per cent.

"All of the gains came in full-time work, which were up a massive 77,000 in the month alone," noted CIBC economist Nick Exarhos in a client note.

"All told, an extremely strong employment report for Canada, coming on the heels of last week's strong GDP figures."

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The national unemployment rate edged up to 6.6 per cent, however, as more people entered the job market.

By province, Statistics Canada said Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec saw the biggest job gains last month.

Quebec's unemployment rate dropped 0.6 percentage points to six per cent — its lowest level since Statistics Canada started collecting the data in 1976.

The fresh figures added to several robust labour market gains since the middle of last year — and economists pointed to the performance as more evidence the economy's early-2017 momentum isn't about to slow down.

Analysts not only applauded the above-expectations headline figures Friday — they also highlighted most of the finer details in the report.

"There's a lot to like here,'' said TD senior economist Brian DePratto, who noted it added yet another good set of data to a growing stack of positive economic numbers in recent months.

"We think the Canadian economy is in a very good place right now.''
— Brian DePratto,

TD Economics

In his research note to clients, BMO's Benjamin Reitzes called the jobs survey "a solid report almost from top to bottom.''

Bill Adams, senior international economist for PNC Financial Services Group, called the details "glorious.''

A closer look at the data showed healthy gains in some of the survey's more-desirable categories — with 59,400 new jobs created in the private sector and 68,500 new paid employee positions.

By industry, the services sector gained 31,300 jobs last month while manufacturing added 23,300 positions, including 25,300 more in manufacturing. In services, there was a gain of 25,900 jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services category.

Youth employment gave the overall number a boost as 38,200 more young people found full-time work last month. The unemployment rate for youth slipped 0.3 percentage points to 12 per cent last month as more young people participated in the job market.

The numbers easily eclipsed expectations leading up to the survey's release. Economists had anticipated a gain of 11,000 jobs and for the unemployment rate to move up to 6.6 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.

DePratto said the only soft numbers in the report Friday were the still-weak data for wage growth and hours worked, although he added they did improve somewhat in May.

The agency said hourly wages for all employees grew 1.3 per cent year-over-year last month, an increase over April's all-time low of 0.7 per cent. The number of hours worked rose 0.7 per cent, the report said.

DePratto said the jobs numbers combined with other robust economic figures of late, including growth, trade and retail, will likely start to tilt the Bank of Canada towards raising its interest rate.

By province, the agency says Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec saw the biggest job gains last month.

Quebec's unemployment rate dropped 0.6 percentage points to six per cent — its lowest level since Statistics Canada started collecting the data in 1976.

A consensus of economists had expected job gains of 11,000 last month and for the unemployment rate to move up to 6.6 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.

— Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press, with a file from HuffPost Canada

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