TORONTO (AP) -- Canada's unemployment rate slipped to 8.5 percent in November as the economy gained 79,000 jobs.
Statistics Canada said Friday full-time jobs rose by 39,000, the third month of gains in a row, and part-time jobs also went up by 40,000. The unemployment rate dropped from 8.6 percent in October.
Economists had expected a 15,000 gain in jobs overall in November.
Craig Wright, chief economist at Royal Bank, called the job numbers in Canada and the U.S. "jaw dropping." The U.S. unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 10 percent in November as employers cut 11,000 jobs last month.
"It's an amazing upside surprise," Wright said. "The fact that it's dipping lower is great news."
Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC World Markets, said the numbers were better than expected and noted Canada has gained an average of 25,000 jobs over the last four months.
"It's certainly a healthy pace but not a rocket back to full employment," Shenfeld said.
The Canadian dollar jumped 0.42 U.S. cents to 95.23 cents following the report.
Canada has avoided bank bailouts and has not experienced the failure of any major financial institution. There has been no crippling mortgage meltdown or banking crisis in Canada where the financial sector is dominated by five large banks.
But the global financial crisis hurt Canada as more than 70 percent of Canada's exports go to the U.S.