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Canada gained a whopping 79,500 new jobs last month

Our unemployment rate is now at its lowest level in a decade

by Vanmala Subramaniam
Dec 1 2017, 10:36am

Canada’s economy churned out a whopping 79,500 jobs in November, driving the unemployment rate down to 5.9 percent, the lowest the country has seen in a decade.

This was indeed a much stronger result than economists had predicted and marked the 12th straight month of employment gains. While part-time jobs led the gain, adding 49,900 positions to the economy, full-time employment also increased robustly — almost 30,000 full-time positions were created in November.

This is significant because it is part of a larger trend, according to James Marple, Senior Economist at TD Economics. “Full-time jobs are up three percent year-on-year, the fastest pace in 15 years,” he wrote in a note this morning.

This month’s job data was particularly encouraging for youth aged between 15 and 24 — 30,000 jobs were added in this demographic, pushing the youth unemployment rate down to 10.8 percent well below the rate of 12.9 percent recorded just a year ago.

In terms of geography, a bulk of Canada’s job gains came from Ontario, with 44,000 more people employed mostly in the wholesale and retail trade sectors, according to Statistics Canada.

Another interesting nugget of information was that the manufacturing sector continued to create jobs, adding an impressive 30,000 this month and somewhat dispelling the notion that Canada’s manufacturing sector is in a death spiral.

But by far, the most positive piece of data from today’s Statistics Canada report is wage growth. From just a year ago, average hourly wages for permanent employees were up 2.7 percent, the best pace the economy has seen in a year and a half.

“There’s been help from higher minimum wages in some provinces, but this is finally a bit of evidence that tight labour market conditions are feeding through to wages,” said Josh Nye, an economist at RBC.

“With strength concentrated in full-time work, there is little doubt that the economy is operating at full capacity. This notion is corroborated by the acceleration in wage growth. It’s hard to fathom that just a few months ago analysts (ourselves included) were decrying its weakness,” said Marple.

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