Published: Fri, December 06, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Alberta unemployment increased in November, according to StatsCan

Alberta unemployment increased in November, according to StatsCan

The Canadian economy has posted its biggest monthly job loss since the financial crisis, with the unemployment rate climbing to just under six per cent.

The monthly labour force report showed the unemployment rate stood at eight per cent in November, down slightly from October's 8.1 per cent.

Economists had expected job growth to 187,000 in November, up from 128,000 in October and boosted by the return to work of 48,000 GM workers following a 40-day strike. That's enough to absorb new job seekers as a result of population growth and to potentially lower the unemployment rate. One area of strength was compensation: Average weekly wages increased by 4.5 per cent from a year ago. Private employment jumped by 254,000.

The blockbuster report provides further evidence that the USA economy is withstanding a global slowdown, and reinforces the Federal Reserve's characterization of the labor market as "strong".

The jobs report followed a decision by the Bank of Canada earlier this week to keep its key interest rate on hold at 1.75 per cent, where it has been set for more than a year. Wage gains should also support holiday shopping and ease concerns about a slowdown.

Revisions, meanwhile, added 41,000 jobs for the prior two months, bringing the three-month average to 205,000, a 10-month high.

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Recent reports on the trade deficit, housing and orders for big-ticket goods have offered a fairly upbeat assessment of the United States economy, but trade tensions continue to loom over the longest expansion, now in its 11th year.

Approximately 2.34 million Albertans were employed in November, a decrease of more than 18,000 compared to the previous month.

Manufacturing added a total of 54,000 jobs, even though factory activity has declined in each of the last four months.

The job losses were quite broad-based.

Despite the raging trade tensions, most analysts say they remain hopeful about the economy and the job market. But the number of Americans either working or actively looking for a job - known as the "labour force participation rate" - also ticked down slightly to 63.2 percent.

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