Sep 7, 2012 / 7:28 am
Canada's economy hammered out a surprisingly healthy 34,300 new jobs last month, topping expectations of only modest gains and completely reversing the previous month's setback.
The details of the August jobs report from Statistics Canada were not as strong as the headline number suggested, however, as all the gains were part-time jobs. As well, there were heavy losses in the goods producing sector, which generally pays higher wages.
And the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.3 per cent as the labour force grew in step with the employment gains.
Bank of Montreal economist Doug Porter called the overall report "a little better than expected ... (but) underwhelming."
"I wouldn't get too excited because a lot of the strength was on the surface," he explained. "It was due to a big rise in part-time jobs and there was actually a decline in hours worked."
"A quick way to look at it was the unemployment rate was unchanged. It's been unchanged from three months ago and it's unchanged from a year ago."
Particularly disconcerting was that 44,000 construction jobs were lost during the month, he said, many in Ontario, which shed 24,900 workers overall.
But given that analysts had expected only a 10,000 bump in employment growth in August, Jimmy Jean, economic analyst with Desjardins Capital Markets, pronounced the report satisfactory.
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