OTTAWA (Reuters) — Canada added far more jobs than expected in May, and the unemployment rate fell to a 10-month low, although that was due to fewer people looking for work, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday.
The increase of 13,800 positions last month topped economists' forecasts for a gain of just 3,800 jobs.
The unemployment rate fell to 6.9 per cent, exceeding expectations for it to hold at 7.1 per cent. It was the lowest rate since July.
Construction jobs rose by 18,600, and manufacturers added 12,200 positions. Analysts have been looking for a pickup in both sectors to offset the drag from the resource sector due to cheaper oil prices.
The other services category, which includes jobs at civic and professional organizations, added 23,900 positions.
But Alberta shed 24,100 jobs, and the number of hours worked tumbled 5.1 per cent, the biggest monthly decline in 30 years, as wildfires in the northern part of the province disrupted a number of industries, including oil production.
Statistics Canada said it did not collect survey data for the area of Fort McMurray, which was evacuated due to the fires. With Fort McMurray accounting for two per cent of Alberta's population, the impact on the national figures was negligible, the agency said.