OTTAWA - New employment data coming out Friday are expected to show thousands of Canadian jobs were lost last month, as the North American auto sector continued a massive restructuring.

The consensus forecast of economists projects 36,500 jobs disappeared last month.

That would wipe out the 36,000 jobs that were added in April, to the surprise of most observers.

But economists say April's employment growth was more illusion than real, as laid-off Canadians were forced to become self-employed. That is unlikely to occur again, they say.

The restructuring of the auto sector is likely to further cut into manufacturing jobs in Canada, particularly in Ontario where General Motors permanently closed its truck plant in Oshawa and Chrysler temporarily shut assembly plants in Windsor and Brampton..

But if employment growth won't return for much of this year, neither will oversize numbers like January's 129,000 losses, says economist Derek Holt of Scotia Capital.

There are indications the economies of both Canada and the U.S., as well as in other key regions of the world, are on the mend will also be reflected in labour markets, although less so.

Holt says jobs will continue to vanish on both sides of the border, but at a slower pace than in the winter months when the economic storm was at its fiercest.