Canada’s economy posted record job gains in April, along with a pick-up in wages, in the strongest sign yet the nation’s economy has emerged from a soft patch.
Employment rose by 106,500 in April, Statistics Canada said Friday in Ottawa, the biggest one-month increase in data going back to 1976. Economists had forecast employers would add about 12,000 positions. The country’s jobless rate dropped to 5.7 per cent, and is hovering near four-decade lows.
The report reaffirms just how much the labour market has been the main driver of Canada’s expansion, and adds to a recent run of other data showing clear signs Canada is on the path back to growth after the economy stalled for much of the past six months.
Canada’s economy has added 426,400 jobs over the past 12 months, the largest one-year increase since 2007, and 700,000 jobs over the past two years.
The Canadian dollar jumped after the report, gaining 0.4 per cent to $1.3421 per U.S. dollar at 8:34 a.m. in Toronto trading. Two-year Canadian government bond yields were up 3 basis points to 1.61 per cent.
The gains were broad-based — across industries, regions and demographics — and there were hardly any weaknesses in the report. Most of the gains were full-time, up 73,000, and in the private sector. Both goods-producing and services sectors recorded gains.
Even wages — which have been sluggish of late — are showing signs of life. Annual hourly wage gains accelerated to 2.5 per cent in April, the fastest annual gain since September, up from 2.4 per cent in March. Pay gains for permanent employees rose to 2.6 per cent, the strongest increase since August.
Total hours worked also picked up, increasing by 1.3 per cent annually in April, from 0.9 per cent in March.
The jobs increases have largely reflected higher labour force numbers as the economy pulls in new workers, rather than falling unemployment. The number of people in the labour force jumped by 108,100 in April, also a one-month record.
Employment in Ontario jumped by 47,000 in April, with job increases in Canada’s largest province at 205,000 over the past year. Quebec employment rose by 38,000, dropping its unemployment rate to 4.9 per cent, the lowest in data going back to 1976.
Strong increases in youth employment also lowered the unemployment rate for that demographic to record lows.