Canada defies expectations with 54,500 new jobs in ‘Memorable May’
Canada’s labour market was surprisingly strong last month, when 77,000 full-time positions were created.
As a result of the full-time work, Statistics Canada says 54,500 net new jobs were gained overall — far more than expected.
“Canada has now generated 185,000 full-time jobs through the first five months of 2017, far exceeding the 73,500 created all of last year … on track, actually, for the best year since the tech boom of 1999!,” wrote Gluskin Sheff Economist David Rosenberg in a note to clients.
The national unemployment rate edged up to 6.6 per cent, however, as more people entered the job market.
“It was an excellent May for Canadian employment, with the 55K increase trouncing more muted expectations,” wrote CIBC Economist Nick Exarhos in in a report to clients titled Memorable May for Canadian Employment. “The composition of the job growth also pointed to healthy momentum for Canadian pocket books, with gains in full-time and paid positions leading the way.”
But one strategist isn’t sure if the latest report indicates longevity.
“I wonder if this could be a one-off jobs number – and could we see a pullback?,” Jeffrey Kleintop, Chief Global Investment Strategist at Charles Schwab, said in an interview with BNN on Friday.
“I worry that we may be getting whipsawed here.”
By province, the agency says Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec saw the biggest job gains last month.
Quebec’s unemployment rate dropped 0.6 percentage points to six per cent – its lowest level since Statistics Canada started collecting the data in 1976.
A consensus of economists had expected job gains of 11,000 last month and for the unemployment rate to move up to 6.6 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.
Here’s a quick glance at unemployment rates for May, by province (previous month in brackets):
— Newfoundland and Labrador 14.8 per cent (14.0)
— Prince Edward Island 10.0 (10.3)
— Nova Scotia 7.9 (8.3)
— New Brunswick 8.4 (8.7)
— Quebec 6.0 (6.6)
— Ontario 6.5 (5.8)
— Manitoba 5.3 (5.4)
— Saskatchewan 6.3 (6.2)
— Alberta 7.8 (7.9)
— British Columbia 5.6 (5.5)