Na­tional un­em­ploy­ment rate at a low

The Prince George Citizen - - Worklife -

OT­TAWA (CP) — A blast of new jobs last month knocked the coun­try’s un­em­ploy­ment rate down to its low­est level since Statis­tics Canada started mea­sur­ing com­pa­ra­ble data more than 40 years ago – but de­spite eye-catch­ing progress, Fri­day’s num­bers also de­liv­ered dis­ap­point­ment.

Canada added 94,100 net jobs for its largest monthly in­crease since March 2012 when there was a gain of 94,000 jobs, Statis­tics Canada said in its the labour force sur­vey. The Novem­ber surge was fu­elled by other pos­i­tives: 89,900 new full-time po­si­tions and 78,600 em­ployee jobs in the pri­vate sec­tor.

The job­less rate fell to 5.6 per cent last month from Oc­to­ber’s read­ing of 5.8 per cent, which had been the pre­vi­ous low mark since com­pa­ra­ble data first be­came avail­able in 1976. The old sta­tis­ti­cal ap­proach – prior to 1976 – reg­is­tered an un­em­ploy­ment rate read­ing of 5.4 per cent in 1974.

The improvements, how­ever, ob­scured a key piece of data: weak­en­ing wage growth.

Year-over-year av­er­age hourly wage growth for per­ma­nent em­ploy­ees con­tin­ued its de­cline in Novem­ber to 1.46 per cent – its low­est read­ing since July 2017.

“There’s no ques­tion that the head­line job growth is gang­busters strong,” said Frances Don­ald of Man­ulife As­set Man­age­ment.

“I would cau­tion us against cel­e­brat­ing too quickly, how­ever, be­cause wage growth is de­cel­er­at­ing sharply.”

Ex­perts have been ex­pect­ing wage growth to pick up its pace, thanks to the tight­ened labour mar­ket. But growth has ac­tu­ally dropped ev­ery month since its May peak of 3.9 per cent and now sits well be­low in­fla­tion.

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