Job­less rate falls to 6.5% but wages see weak­est growth since 1997

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - ANDY BLATCHFORD

OT­TAWA — The un­em­ploy­ment rate fell last month to its low­est level since the start of the last ma­jor re­ces­sion, but de­tails within Sta­tis­tics Canada’s lat­est labour re­port — in­clud­ing a record-low for wage growth — damp­ened what has oth­er­wise been a strong run for the job mar­ket.

Job cre­ation cooled down in April and pro­duced a net in­crease of 3,200 po­si­tions, a fig­ure so low it was sta­tis­ti­cally in­signif­i­cant, the agency’s work­force sur­vey said Fri­day. How­ever, Canada man­aged to hang on to the job gains from the un­usu­ally long streak of past months — and over the past year more than two-thirds of the labour­mar­ket growth has been full-time, said RBC se­nior econ­o­mist Nathan Janzen. Year-over-year work­force par­tic­i­pa­tion is up and Janzen noted that April’s 6.5 per cent job­less rate — which dropped from 6.7 per cent in March — is now below its 10year, pre-re­ces­sion av­er­age level.

The un­em­ploy­ment rate was lower last month than it had been since Oc­to­ber 2008 and 0.6 per­cent­age points lower than a year ear­lier, as fewer youth searched for work.

Hamil­ton’s un­em­ploy­ment rate fell to 5.4 per cent from 5.9 per cent.

Na­tion­ally, the news wasn’t all good. In his re­search note to clients, Janzen high­lighted a “fly in the oint­ment” — April’s his­tor­i­cally fee­ble wage growth.

“On that one, it’s just puz­zling,” he said in an in­ter­view. “Typ­i­cally, you would say we ac­tu­ally have tight labour mar­kets, but it’s just not gen­er­at­ing wage growth. So, I think that wage mea­sure is the main one that’s go­ing to keep giv­ing the Bank of Canada pause, and it gives us pause as well.”

Hourly wages ex­panded by 0.7 per cent in April, the slow­est yearover-year growth since the fed­eral agency started col­lect­ing that data in Jan­uary 1997. For all per­ma­nent em­ploy­ees, wages ex­panded by just 0.5 per cent — also an all-time low.

Janzen said wage growth is an im­por­tant in­di­ca­tor, par­tic­u­larly for the Bank of Canada as it mulls in­ter­est-rate de­ci­sions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.