Friday, June 7, 2019 - 08:46

MNI DATA IMPACT: Canada May Jobless Rate at Record Low 5.4%

By Greg Quinn

OTTAWA (MNI) - Canada turned in a second straight blockbuster jobs report in May as the unemployment rate fell to a record low 5.4% and payrolls climbed again after a massive gain in April, data released Friday showed.

The unemployment rate fell from 5.7% in April, the biggest monthly decline since April 2017, while employment climbed by 27,700 in May, following April's record increase of 106,500.

Here are some key points from the report:

- Economists had predicted unemployment would rise to 5.8% in May, and a decline of 6,000 jobs, so today's data are sharply better than expected, compared with the generally disappointing US jobs report released at the same time.

- The details of the report were also strong with all of the new jobs being full-time positions, and a wage measure favored by the central bank holding at a 2.6% year-over-year pace in May. The goods sector grew by 4,900 jobs, while services climbed by 22,800 positions.

- Employment gains were strongest in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The unemployment rate for women aged 25 to 54 fell to a record low of 4.1% in May, Statistics Canada said. In another report, the agency said the industrial capacity utilization rate fell to 80.9% in the first quarter, the lowest since the third quarter of 2015.

- The job market has been one of the strongest parts of Canada's economy in recent years, allowing consumer spending to lead growth that has suffered from bouts of weakness in exports and business investment. The Bank of Canada has kept interest rates on hold this year as trade tensions rattle exports and oil producers have cut investment because of low or volatile prices. Those weak points have helped create slack in the economy that has kept a lid on inflation.

--MNI Ottawa Bureau; +1 613-314-9647; email:


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