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Canadian job growth blows past expectations in November

·2 min read
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 16: A help wanted sign is posted in the window of hardware store on September 16, 2021 in San Francisco, California. Unemployment claims inched up to 332,000 from a pandemic low of 312,000 a week before. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Canada's job market added 154,000 jobs in November, easily beating expectations of 38,000 positions.

Statistics Canada says employment is higher than its pre-COVID February 2020 level during the first full month after COVID benefits like the CRB wound down.

The unemployment rate fell to 6.0 per cent, which is within 0.3 percentage points of what it was in February 2020.

There were gains in both services-producing and goods-producing sectors. Growth was almost equally spread across full-time (80,000) and part-time work (74,000).

Total hours worked rose 0.7 per cent, bringing the data point back to pre-pandemic February 2020 levels for the first time. Hours rose in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, and construction. But the goods-producing sector remained below the pre-pandemic level in November.

The employment rate for core-aged women, defined as 25 to 54 year olds, hit an all-time high of 80.7 per cent, a 1 percentage point increase from before the pandemic began.

“The jobs gain suggests that, even if GDP isn’t near its prior trend, labour markets are tightening sharply, and that positions the Bank of Canada to hike earlier than we had expected, although the impact of Omicron is of course still creating a significant degree of uncertainty to any such forecasts,” said CIBC senior economist Royce Mendes." 

Statistics Canada says the results were taken before the B.C. floods, so the effects won't appear until the December report.

Skills mismatch

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce notes there are still a million job vacancies and 1.2 million people looking for work.

"Now clear of the impacts of support programs to individuals, our labour market's structural problem is laid bare: an entrenched misalignment between the skills employers are looking for and job seekers are offering," said the chamber's Leah Nord, senior director of workforce strategies and inclusive growth.

"Looking forward, we know between 33% and 55% of businesses are planning to hire in the next few months and expect significant challenges in doing so. Our labour market pains are about to go from bad to worse through early 2022."

U.S. jobs disappoint

U.S. jobs growth missed expectations, which gave the loonie a lift.

"While the U.S. data missed forecasts and added just 210,000 new jobs compared to expectations of a 550,000 increase, Canada's economy added 153,700 jobs vs the 37,500 expected," said Ima Sammani, FX Market Analyst at Monex Europe.

"The loonie strengthened to session highs on the back of the data, while the U.S. dollar saw opposite moves and tumbled to daily lows."

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

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