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Canada adds 28,500 PT jobs

Canada's labour market staged a modest comeback last month, but the good news was tempered by the fact all 25,800 net new jobs were part-time and many likely temporary as the first wave of students entered the summer job market.

Despite the net increase in jobs, the official unemployment rate edged back to seven per cent after several months at 6.9, an unusual outcome caused by more Canadians entering the work force.

But the real news in the key monthly report from Statistics Canada is that full-time employment fell by 29,100, the second big drop in two months.

As well, since 48,600 young workers found employment, the assumption is that many were university students finding summer jobs — a welcome development on one level but no solace to the long-term unemployed in the country. In fact, employment among men aged 25 to 54 fell by 23,000.

The weakness was also reflected in hours worked, up 1.1 per cent but not enough to reverse April's 1.9 per cent fall-off — and the 1.4 per cent year-over-year gain in wages was the slowest in three years and below the inflation rate.

"It was tough to find much positive other than the nice headline," said Bank of Montreal economist Doug Porter.

"It's probably one of the starker cases of the headline telling one story and the details telling quite another," he said.

Markets weren't fooled. The dollar weakened modestly on the news, particularly as it compared to a relatively stronger 217,000 job creation month in the United States.

The Canadian numbers did little to alter the prevailing trend of an economy that, after churning out strong job gains in the first few years following the 2008-09 recession, has largely run out of steam in the one area most important to Canadians — the ability to create well-paying, permanent, full-time jobs.

The agency noted that over the last 12 months, only 86,000 net new jobs have been created — or a mere 0.5 per cent increase — with all the growth part-time.


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