Employment picks up steam in April

Women 55 and older fastest-growing group: Statscan

(Reuters) — Canada's economy created far more jobs than expected in April and recovered all the full-time positions lost in the recession, setting the stage for solid second-quarter growth and interest rate hikes later this year.

Net job creation totaled 58,300 in the month, according to Statistics Canada. Most of the jobs were part time and were evenly split between the private and public sectors.

Total employment in Canada had recovered to pre-recession levels in January but as of April full-time employment also reached that benchmark.

The unemployment rate fell in April to 7.6 per cent from 7.7 per cent in March, but remained well above the pre-crisis level of 6.2 per cent in September 2008.

The services sector led the hiring, particularly the finance, insurance, real estate and leasing industry as well as business, building and support services. All other sectors showed little or no change in the month.

The average hourly wage of permanent employees — which is closely watched by the Bank of Canada for inflation pressures — rose 2.4 per cent from a year earlier, compared with 2.6 per cent in March.

Employment in Ontario rose by 55,000 in April, driven by gains in part time (+46,000). As a result, the unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage points to 7.9 per cent, its lowest level since December 2008. Despite April’s part-time gain, Ontario’s employment growth of 157,000 (+2.4 per cent) over the past 12 months was all in full time.

Newfoundland and Labrador was the only other province with a notable employment gain in April, up 3,100. Over the past 12 months, the number of workers rose by 15,000 or 6.9 per cent, the fastest rate of growth of all provinces. In April, the unemployment rate fell by 1.3 percentage points to 11.1 per cent, its lowest rate since 1976, when comparable data became available.

In April, employment fell by 5,500 in Nova Scotia and by 3,300 in Manitoba. In Quebec, employment was unchanged in April, and the unemployment rate was 7.8 per cent. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province was up 1.2 per cent (+46,000).

Employment rose among women 55 and over, up 29,000 in April. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment among these women increased by 102,000 or 7.9 per cent, the fastest rate of growth of all demographic groups.

Among youths aged 15 to 24 and core-aged workers (25 to 54), employment held steady in April. Over the past 12 months, employment among youths and core-aged women was little changed, while it was up 105,000 (+1.7 per cent) among core-aged men.

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