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Wages rise as job numbers see slight decline

The country's unemployment rate sticks at 5.8 percent


May 11, 2018
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OTTAWA—Wage growth hit its highest level in nearly six years last month as the economy posted a slight net loss of 1,100 jobs and an unemployment rate that held steady at 5.8 percent.

Statistics Canada released a new jobs report that showed average hourly wages in April were 3.6 percent higher than they were a year earlier. It was the monthly reading’s largest annual increase since October 2012.

The indicator, which is closely monitored by the Bank of Canada ahead of its interest-rate decisions, posted an annual increase of 3.3 percent in March.

Signs that wage growth is strengthening could nudge the central bank closer to raising its trend-setting rate. The bank’s next rate decision is scheduled for May 30.

Overall, the decline in jobs last month was so small the federal agency did not consider it statistically significant.

The unemployment rate stayed at its record low of 5.8 percent for a third-straight month. It matches its lowest mark since the agency started measuring the indicator in 1976.

The participation rate, however, edged down in April to 65.4 percent, from 65.5 percent in March, as fewer people looked for work.

The agency said the economy produced 28,800 full-time jobs last month and shed 30,000 part-time positions. The country also saw a decrease of 13,600 positions in the country’s public sector, while the number of private-sector jobs rose by 28,000.

The goods-producing sector shed 15,900 positions, mostly in construction. Services sectors, meanwhile, created 14,800 jobs following big increases in professional, scientific and technical services as well as accommodation and food services.

The youth unemployment rate increased in April to 11.1 percent following a net gain of 17,700 new jobs. The labour force participation rate for youth slipped to 63.4 per cent from 63.8 percent.

Compared with 12 months earlier, the employment was up 1.5 percent following the creation of 278,300 jobs, which was fuelled by 378,300 new full-time positions.