Jobless rate lowest in years

A wave of job creation last month knocked the unemployment rate down to 5.9 per cent — its lowest level in nearly a decade.

Statistics Canada said Friday that the economy churned out another 79,500 net new jobs in November and drove the jobless rate down 0.4 percentage points from 6.3 per cent the month before.

In B.C., the jobless rate was pegged at 4.8 per cent, down from 4.9 per cent in October. That figure was 6.1 per cent in Kelowna, up one tenth of a point.

The federal statistical agency also released fresh figures Friday for growth which showed that the economy expanded at an annual pace of 1.7 per cent in the third quarter.

But the strong November jobs numbers stood out. The last time the unemployment rate was 5.9 per cent was February 2008 at the start of the global financial crisis.

Economists had expected an increase of 10,000 jobs and the unemployment rate to come in at 6.2 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.

The increase also marked Canada's 12th straight month of positive job creation as the country posted its best 12-month performance in 10 years. The last 12-month streak of positive job creation ended in March 2007.

The report said employment rose 2.1 per cent in the 12 months leading up to November as the economy added 390,000 net jobs — with all the gains driven by full-time work.

The labour market added 441,400 full-time positions year-over-year for an increase of three per cent and its strongest 12-month period of full-time job creation in 18 years.

The numbers show that Canada gained 29,600 full-time jobs and 49,900 part-time positions in November. The growth was concentrated in the private sector, which added 72,400 jobs last month, compared with an increase of 10,600 positions in the public sector.

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