OTTAWA (CP) — The Canadian economy staged a mild comeback in August by creating 15,200 jobs following two consecutive months of employment declines.
The rebound, following July's massive shedding of 55,000 jobs, kept the unemployment rate at 6.1 per cent.
But Statistics Canada noted that the economy's ability to generate new work remains strained.
So far this year, Canada has added a modest 86,900 net jobs, compared with 221,000 during the first eight months of last year.
August saw a reversal of fortunes in several areas. Ontario returned to the positive side of the job creation picture. There were more full-time jobs created than part-time, and many more private-sector jobs added than in government work.
And for the first time in many months, the beleaguered manufacturing sector added 13,800 new factory jobs.
After losing 95,000 jobs in July, the private sector added 40,900 in August, while public-sector employment fell by 23,900.
Meanwhile, there were 16,100 more full-time workers in August than in July.
Statistics Canada noted that the factory sector has lost 14,000 workers since the beginning of this year, a significant improvement from its 76,000 job losses in the first eight months of last year.
Other areas of employment strength last month included construction, utilities, education, and accommodation and food services.
Construction, which has been a pillar of labour market for several years, has now added 86,000 jobs this year, an increase of 7.4 per cent from the same period in 2007.
Meanwhile, employment declined by 22,000 in health care and social assistance in August, and agriculture was down 18,000 workers for the month.
Statistics Canada said hourly wages were 3.8 per cent higher than a year earlier, modestly ahead of the current 3.4 per cent rate of inflation.
Regionally, Ontario led the way with 14,000 additional net jobs, while employment in Saskatchewan increased by 6,000.