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Canada’s Unemployment Rate Rises In April

Canadian economy continues to add workers in the face of an economic slowdown, creating 19,200 new jobs in April after a slightly smaller gain the previous month.

OTTAWA (CP) -- The Canadian economy continues to add workers in the face of an economic slowdown, creating 19,200 new jobs in April after a slightly smaller gain the previous month.

The new jobs, mostly in the full-time and self-employed categories, couldn't prevent the national unemployment rate from edging up by one-tenth of a point to 6.1 percent.

As with the previous month which saw the rate rise to six percent from the 33-year-low of 5.8 percent, the increase was caused by a growing number of people looking for work, not job losses, Statistics Canada said Friday.

Despite a pronounced U.S. slowdown that has sideswiped Canadian exports, particularly in manufacturing and forestry, other sectors have taken up the slack.

In comparison with the United States, the proportion of working-age Canadians who had jobs in April increased 0.5 percentage point during the past year to a record 64.5 percent. This compared with a 0.3-point contraction in the U.S. to 62.7 percent.

Over that period, Canada's economy created 348,000 new jobs, a 2.1 percent increase, with full-time work rising twice as fast as part-time.

The employment picture between the two close trading partners was like a mirror image, with the U.S. shedding jobs in construction and financial services, whereas Canada had large gains in both sectors, particularly construction.

But the bleeding in factories continues in both countries, and in April Canada lost another 14,900 manufacturing jobs, bringing the 12-month total to 111,500.

Most of those factory job losses came in the manufacturing heartland of Ontario, which accounted for 50,000 of the contraction over the past year. British Columbia lost 29,000, Quebec 13,000 and even Alberta shed 11,000 manufacturing jobs.

The key industries to gain jobs in April were construction, with 16,000 new positions, and accommodation and food services, up 22,000.

The tight labor market continued to feed hourly wages, up 4.3 percent in April in a healthy annualized rate that is more than double inflation.

Regionally, overall employment rose last month in every province except Quebec, which saw a net loss of 22,000 jobs.

Manitoba had the biggest gain in proportion to its population with an additional 9,000 jobs, slicing its unemployment rate to 3.8 percent, the second-lowest next to Alberta.

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