Canada’s unemployment rate was little changed in June, capping a volatile six-month period that has resulted in only modest growth for job seekers.
While some economists say the upward employment trend so far in 2013 is good news given Canada's weakening economy, others argue there isn't enough growth when considering the rising population.
Statistics Canada said the unemployment rate stuck at 7.1 per cent last month, as the number of jobs increased in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and fell in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
There was an increase in professional, scientific and technical services jobs in June, while employment dropped in accommodation and food services as well as information, culture and recreation, StatsCan said.
Economists were expecting Canada to lose about 8,000 jobs, after a surprising increase of 95,000 job in May. Instead, a scant 400 jobs disappeared last month. June's uneventful report follows dramatic month-to-month swings in job gains and losses since January.
“After the fireworks of huge gains in May employment, markets weren’t expecting much in June, and that’s exactly what we got,” said CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld.
“It’s easy to shrug off one weak month in this series after the leap in the prior month ... Indeed, the jobs trend has been quite a bit better than the pace of GDP growth would typically have justified.”
BMO chief economist Douglas Porter noted the June jobless rate wasn't impacted by the floods in Calgary or the Quebec construction strike because the numbers are taken mid-month, which was before both incidents occurred.
Porter said the "main sour note" in the June jobs report was the loss of 32,000 full-time jobs, offset by an equivalent rise in part-time positions.
Employment growth averaged 14,000 per month for the first half of the year, StatsCan said, which is slower than the average of 27,000 in the last six months of 2012.
"That is not enough to keep pace with population growth, let alone put a dent in unemployment," said Erin Weir, economist at the United Steelworkers, also expressing concern about the static June jobs report.
"Stagnation is bad news given our growing population and that 1.4 million Canadians remain unemployed."
StatsCan said employment grew by 1.4 per cent, or 242,000 jobs in the past 12 months, while the total number of hours worked increased by 0.6 per cent.