OTTAWA — Canada's job market gained 63,000 positions in September, edging the unemployment rate lower to 5.9 per cent, and offsetting job losses in August, Statistics Canada reported Friday.
The numbers were a surprise to the experts. Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a gain of 25,000 positions.
September's increase in employment was largely driven by gains in part-time work, with part-time jobs up by around 80,000, the agency said in its monthly labour force survey. Full-time employment dropped by 16,900.
The job gains were also almost entirely in Ontario and British Columbia, with little change in the other provinces.
The latest monthly report from Statistics Canada indicates the jobs market remains volatile, after August saw a decline of more than 51,000 positions, raising the unemployment rate to 6.0 per cent, after two months of increases.
"The wild ride that is the Labour Force Survey continued in September," CIBC senior economist Royce Mendes wrote. "Following two very volatile months even for the LFS, the data was somehow able to surprise everyone once again."
Mendes noted that wage growth is slowing, down to 2.2 per cent from 2.6 per cent, year over year, the month before.
"The current reading, however, looks more in line with other measures of wages, and suggests that inflationary pressures aren't set to take off," Mendes wrote in a client note.
On a year-over-year basis, Canada gained 222,000 jobs since September 2017.
The agency's monthly labour force survey found that all of the job gains in September were made by workers in the core 25-to-54 age range with virtually no change in youth employment. September's youth unemployment rate stood at 11.0 per cent, up by 0.1 percentage points from the previous month.
Men in the core age bracket gained the most, with 34,000 jobs while women also saw increases of 20,000 positions.
Construction, finance, real estate see gains
The agency said the number of self-employed Canadians declined by 35,000 after recording an almost equal total increase over the past twelve months.
Many of the jobs were found in construction, up by 28,000 in September, reversing two previous monthly declines.
Around 13,000 jobs were added in finance, insurance, real estate and rental and leasing, mostly in Ontario and Alberta.
Earlier on HuffPost Canada:
Employment increased by about 12,000 in the public sector, which has seen a rise of about 20,000 jobs overall since last September.
The agriculture sector also saw gains of about 9,000 jobs, offsetting continuous declines seen since May.
Statistics Canada also released third quarter employment numbers for the territories, reporting gains of 500 and 900 jobs in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories respectively while 400 job losses were recorded in Yukon. The numbers were compared with the second quarter and based on a three-month rolling average.
— With files from Reuters and Daniel Tencer, HuffPost Canada