Canada’s economy surprised again in April, turning out another stellar month of employment growth, adding 58,200 jobs as Canadians found work in most regions of the country and in most goods-producing industries.
Still, the unemployment rate edged up one-tenth of a point to 7.3 per cent, but that was because even more people went looking for work last month.
The big gains last month following the stunning 82,000 increase in March changes the picture for Canada’s labour market, which prior to March had been mostly stagnant since the summer.
And if confirmed in subsequent months, it might give Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney one more reason to carry through on his signal last month that the time for modestly raising interest rates was approaching.
Following March’s mammoth gains, analysts had expected only modest movement in employment this month. Instead, April turned out to be almost as strong, and even stronger in the details.
And unlike the previous month, when most of the new jobs were concentrated in Central Canada, this time the gains were spread across the country with employment rising in the Atlantic region, Quebec and the West, although Ontario, Nova Scotia and Manitoba suffered minor job losses.
Also impressive was that most new workers were full time and all were in the private sector, as well as being new hires rather than in the softer self-employment category.
In fact, the number of employees rose by 66,600 and the private sector added 85,800 as government jobs fell by 19,200.
The last two months has seen a reversal in the jobs picture between Canada and the United States, with the labour market strengthening north of the border but softening in the U.S.
Over the past year, Canada has added 214,000 new jobs.
By industry, Statistics Canada said construction added the most workers, 24,600, followed by manufacturing, 23,800, welcome news in an export-dependent sector that has been struggling due to weak foreign markets and the high Canadian dollar.
Other gainers in April included natural resources, 11,000; agriculture, 10,000; and education services, 17,000.
Offsetting the gains, public administration shed 32,400 workers, likely an indication of government restraint.