Losses come after 74,000 jobs lost in June and July.
Canada’s economy lost 40,000 jobs in August, enough to push up the jobless rate by half a percentage point, to 5.4 per cent, Statistics Canada reported Friday.
Economists had been expecting the economy to add between 10,000 and 15,000 jobs during the month, which would have been a reversal after two straight monthly declines in June and July.
Instead, August’s numbers bring the three-month tally of losses to more than 100,000 since May.
The job losses were enough to push up the jobless rate for the first time in seven months. In June, Canada’s unemployment rate fell to 4.9 per cent, its lowest level on record. It stayed flat in July, but has now jumped up by half a percentage point from that record low level.
Tu Nguyen, an economist with consultancy firm RSM Canada, noted that most of the job losses came from two sectors: construction and education.
Education jobs typically decline during the summer, and she says the slowdown in construction was to be expected due to how the Bank of Canada’s aggressive series of rate hikes have poured cold water on the housing market.
Many new development projects have been cancelled due to tepid buyer demand, which might explain the sector’s slowdown.
“Most other industries either held steady or added jobs, which means overall, demand for labour is still there. If we enter a recession, it will be industry-specific, and certain areas will get hurt substantially more than others,” she said.
Average hourly wages during the month were $31.33. That’s up by 5.4 per cent compared to what they were a year ago. For comparison purposes, Canada’s inflation rate is currently 7.6 per cent, which means wage gains are still far from keeping up with inflation.
Pete Evans is the senior business writer for CBCNews.ca. Prior to coming to the CBC, his work has appeared in the Globe & Mail, the Financial Post, the Toronto Star, and Canadian Business Magazine. Twitter: @p_evans Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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