Canada Jobless Rate in August Drops to Post-Crisis Low -- Update

By Paul Vieira Features Dow Jones Newswires

Canada added jobs in August and its unemployment rate fell for a third-straight month to a fresh postcrisis low, even though full-time employment declined steeply in the month.

Continue Reading Below

Wages also rose at the fastest pace in 10 months, although still below the 2% level.

The Canadian economy added a net 22,200 jobs in August, Statistics Canada said Friday, or the ninth consecutive month of employment gains. The August advance was above the consensus call for a 15,000 increase, according to economists at Royal Bank of Canada.

On a year-over-year basis, Canadian employment increased 374,300, or 2.1%, with nearly 60% of the new jobs created over the past 12 months of the full-time variety, which tend to offer higher pay and steady benefits.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate dropped to 6.2% in August, matching a level last recorded in October, 2008, or just before the onset of the financial crisis. When using U.S. Labor Department methodology, Canada's jobless rate in August was 5.3%.

Some of the underlying details in the Canadian jobs report were soft. The economy shed 88,100 full-time jobs, but that was offset by a 110,400 increase in part-time employment. Employment at firms and organizations fell by 10,400 in August, while the ranks of the self-employed -- who tend to be independent contractors that aren't necessarily paid on a regular schedule -- increased by 32,700.

Continue Reading Below

"While very solid on the surface, the details of this report are generally sluggish," said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets. "From a big-picture view, the economy continues to churn out job gains and the labor market continues to tighten, leaving absolutely no doubt on which way interest-rate policy is heading over the next year."

The jobs report emerged just days after the Bank of Canada surprised traders with a second rate rise in nearly two months, on the view that economic growth was becoming more broadly based and self-sustaining. It noted consumer spending remained robust, "underpinned by continued solid employment and income growth."

The central bank did note in its statement explaining the rate rise that "some" excess capacity remained in the labor market, with wage and price pressures "still more subdued than historical relationships would suggest."

On wages, the report said average hourly pay rose 1.8% from a year ago in August, or the biggest annual gain since October of last year. The last time average hourly wages rose 2% or higher on a 12-month basis was June, 2016.

On a sectoral basis, the services component added nearly 36,000 jobs in August, led by a rise of 14,600 in financial services and real estate. Employment in the goods-producing component of the economy fell 13,700.

Write to Paul Vieira at paul.vieira@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 08, 2017 09:41 ET (13:41 GMT)