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November job numbers take unexpected hit


December 9, 2019  


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The Canadian job market lost a surprise 71,200 net positions in November while the unemployment rate rose to 5.9 per cent, the highest in more than a year, as analysts said a repeat of the weak numbers could force the Bank of Canada to rethink its monetary policy.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a gain of 10,000 jobs and had predicted the unemployment rate would hold steady at 5.5 per cent. Wages for permanent employees jumped by 4.4 per cent, matching the gain seen in October, Statistics Canada said.

(See related story, “Despite disappointing job numbers, Premier remains upbeat”)

“All around miss,” Derek Holt, vice president of Capital Markets Economics at Scotiabank, told Reuters. He noted November’s numbers followed a weak report in October, when the labour market unexpectedly shed jobs despite a likely boost from hiring related to the federal election.

“At the margin it is convincing evidence that we may be at a weakening spot in the labor market,” he said.

The Canadian dollar tumbled to 1.3244 to the U.S. dollar, or 75.51 cents U.S, after the jobs report.

November’s unemployment rate was the highest seen since the 6.0% reported in August 2018, while Statscan said 38,400 full-time jobs and 32,800 part-time jobs were lost in November.

(Reuters)