* Canada records modest job growth for third month in a row
* Jobless rate stays at near five-year low
* Almost all the new jobs were part-time
* Canada data overshadowed by upbeat U.S. jobs figures
By David Ljunggren
OTTAWA, Dec 6 Canada created 21,600 jobs in
November, the third straight month of modest employment
increases and a number that underscores the lack of pressure on
the central bank to raise interest rates.
The increase in jobs reported by Statistics Canada on
Friday, however, was much greater than the 12,000 forecast by
market analysts. The unemployment rate stayed at a nearly
five-year low of 6.9 percent.
The Bank of Canada - concerned about the amount of slack in
the economy - kept its overnight interest rate at a near record
low on Wednesday and expressed concern that inflation could be
weaker than it has predicted.
"The Bank of Canada is focusing more on the inflation print
than the employment print, though this will be welcome news for
them. I think it is unlikely to shift the tone that they left us
with this week," said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist
A Reuters poll on Nov 28 predicted the Bank of Canada would
keep its main policy rate unchanged at 1 percent until the
second quarter of 2015.
The November job gains were mostly part-time - 20,000
compared with only 1,400 full-time - but Finance Minister Jim
Flaherty expressed little concern about the balance.
"I think it's a function of seasonality ... that (at)
certain times of the year more people work part-time than at
other times of the year. Overall, the trend is good," he told
reporters in Markham, Ontario.
The average monthly job gain over the past six months, which
is seen as a more reliable gauge of the trend, was 11,000,
compared with 23,300 in the previous six-month period. May's
95,000 new jobs swelled the average in the first half of the
The Canadian figures were overshadowed by data from the
United States, which showed employers added a much
greater-than-expected 203,000 new jobs to their payrolls last
The Canadian dollar initially weakened against the
U.S. dollar after the release of the data, dropping to C$1.0701
to the greenback, or 93.45 U.S. cents, compared with Thursday's
close of C$1.0641, or 93.98 U.S. cents. It later recovered to
$1.0638, or 94.00 U.S. cents.
Statscan said the average hourly wage of permanent employees
rose by 2.3 percent from November 2012, up from a year-on-year
advance of 1.7 percent in October.
"In terms of what will matter for the Bank of Canada, wage
growth is fairly subdued, hours worked were down, so there's no
real sense that there's underlying pressures on capacity," said
David Tulk, chief Canada macro strategist at TD Securities.
Employment in Canada's struggling manufacturing sector
increased by 24,900 jobs in November. Employment in business,
building and other support services advanced by 31,200.
Since November 2012, the economy has added 179,100 jobs, an
increase of 1.0 percent.
The overall participation rate, which includes those working
or actively looking for work, remained at 66.4 percent, the
lowest since the 66.3 percent recorded in February 2002.
"The longer-term trend is still that Canadian employers are
creating barely enough jobs to keep pace with population
growth," said Erin Weir, an economist at the United Steelworkers