By Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press
Ottawa: The Canadian economy shed 35,700 jobs in November to reverse a rise in temporary work likely generated by October’s federal election, Statistics Canada said Friday.
The number of public-administration jobs fell by 32,500 in November to offset an October increase of 32,000 positions in the same category, the federal agency found in its monthly labour-market survey.
The worse-than-expected drop in jobs helped nudge November’s unemployment rate up one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.1 per cent.
“The November decline in public administration was seen across all provinces,” Statistics Canada said in the report.
“The decrease was concentrated among survey interviewers and statistical clerks, an occupational group that corresponds with the type of work done during the election.”
Historically, the agency has detected similar, temporary spikes in employment during election and census periods.
A consensus of economists had estimated the country would lose 10,000 jobs last month and for the unemployment rate to hold firm at seven per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.
RBC deputy chief economist Dawn Desjardins pointed to numbers in the report that showed Canada’s services sector dropped 82,000 positions last month, including the significant decline in public-administration work.
“I would say disappointing in so much as that it wasn’t just the reversal of the election-related hiring,” Desjardins said of the overall results.
She did note, however, that Canada still gained more than 150,000 new service-sector jobs since last December.
“So, it isn’t a horrible story by any stretch, but I think we need to see some recovery there as we go through December really just to allay any concerns that something is amiss here,” Desjardins said.
Looking more closely at the employment decline in the services sector, the labour market lost 15,600 jobs in wholesale and retail trade, 11,900 in the category of information, culture and recreation and 11,200 in finance, insurance, real estate and leasing.
The November data also found the overall number of part-time positions declined by 72,300 compared to the previous month, while full-time jobs climbed by 36,600.
Regionally, Alberta saw its jobless rate jump from 6.6 per cent to seven per cent,the province’s highest level since April 2010, as 14,900 fewer people were working there.
That drop in the number of jobs was the biggest decline from October to November of any province in the report.
The economy in the resources-producing province, which saw the bulk of its November losses concentrated in its services sector, has struggled as global commodity prices remain stubbornly low.
Looking across Canada, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island all registered drops in employment, while other provinces saw little change from October.
Overall, by industry, the number of people in Canada holding natural resources-related positions remained virtually flat, while the manufacturing sector added 17,400 jobs.
The country also saw declines in employee positions with drops of 21,200 jobs in the public sector and 40,800 in the private sector. However, 26,300 more people said they were self-employed.
The survey found the November youth unemployment rate hit its lowest level since 2008, as it dropped to 12.7 per cent, down from 13.3 per cent the previous month.
The rate decrease, however, came despite the fact the economy lost 23,600 net positions for young workers aged 15 to 24. The change was partly due to the fact fewer youths said they were participating in the labour market in November.
In the October jobs report, Statistics Canada found that the overall employment number eclipsed 18 million last month for the first time. The November losses, however, pushed that figure back down to 17,986,800.
In October, the survey reported that the labour force had ballooned by 44,400 net jobs thanks to the increase in temporary public-administration work likely connected to the federal election.
On Friday, Statistics Canada also released figures showing the country’s international-trade deficit swelled to $2.76 billion in October, an increase from the revised $2.32-billion shortfall in the previous month. October’s exports fell by 1.8 per cent while imports slid by 0.8 per cent.