OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada added fewer jobs than expected in October as coronavirus-related shutdowns started to bite but analysts said the gains nonetheless reflected welcome signs of economic resilience.
Statistics Canada on Friday reported 83,600 new jobs and said the unemployment rate had dipped to 8.9%. Analysts in a Reuters poll had predicted a gain of 100,000 jobs and for the unemployment rate to fall to 8.8% from 9.0%.
Statscan compiled the data from Oct. 11 to 17, when major provinces had started imposing restrictions on restaurants, bars and recreational facilities.
Andrew Kelvin, chief Canada strategist at TD Securities, said the economy had maintained some momentum in October after massive gains in previous months.
“Some deceleration was inevitable. I think this should be viewed as an encouraging sign of the economy’s resilience,” he said.
Employment for women aged 25-54 – who were initially hit harder than men – rose for a sixth consecutive month to come within 1.4% of pre-pandemic levels. Employment of men in the same age category was within 2% of pre-pandemic levels.
The accommodation and food services sector shed 48,200 jobs, easily the largest loss of any single sector. Wholesale and retail trade added 45,300 jobs.
Full-time employment rose by 69,100 jobs while part-time employment was up by 14,500 positions.
The number of people seeking work for more than six months increased by 79,000, or +36.2%, in September and a further 151,000, or 50.7%, in October.
The data will have little impact at the Bank of Canada, which says interest rates will stay at record lows until some time in 2023.
“The low-hanging fruit has been picked in terms of Canada’s job recovery and we’re transitioning to a much cooler environment. But we’re still on the positive side of the ledger,” said Derek Holt, vice president of capital markets economics at Scotiabank.
(Additional reporting by Jeff Lewis, Fergal Smith and Moira Warburton in Toronto; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Andrea Ricci and Alison Williams)