Employers ramped up hiring in April with more than 100,000 new jobs, the largest monthly percentage gain since August 2002, according to Statistics Canada.
The 109,000 net new jobs, all in the private sector, pushed the unemployment rate down just 0.1 percentage points to 8.1 per cent because more people were looking for work.
The growth was much larger than expected, with economists predicting modest job gains of about 25,000.
The employment increase in April brings total gains since the start of the upward trend in July 2009 to 285,000.
Two-thirds of the employment growth was among men aged 25 years and older with 72,000 new jobs, the strongest monthly increase for this group since comparable data became available in 1976.
Overall, employment growth was in both part time (65,000 new jobs) and full time (44,000 new jobs). Since July 2009, growth has been concentrated in full-time work.
Employment rose in a number of industries in April with wholesale and retail trade (32,000 jobs); business, building and other support services (31,000 jobs); and construction (24,000 jobs) leading the way.
However, there were losses in manufacturing (21,000 jobs) and agriculture (10,000 jobs).
Employment grew in all provinces in April, with the largest increases in Ontario (41,000 jobs), Quebec (35,000 jobs), British Columbia (13,000 jobs), Alberta (10,000 jobs) and Manitoba (7,000 jobs).
Compared with a year earlier, average hourly wages were up two per cent in April, a rate of growth similar to those observed since January 2010.
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