Canadian Labor Market Turning Up?

December 4, 2009

Canada reported encouraging labor statistics.  Canadian jobs jumped 79.1K last month, more than reversing a 43.2K drop in October, and such have risen 93.6K on balance over the last four reported months.  Employment in November rose 37.9K among education workers and 73K for all service-sector workers, but manufacturing workers (up 12.6K) rose for the second time in three months.  Increases in part-time and full-time jobs were roughly equal, and self-employment fell 32K, which is actually a usual sign of an improving labor market.  The jobless rate eased a tenth to 8.5% and was two-tenths under the peak of 8.7% in August.  Prime-aged women (25-54) accounted for 65% of the net growth in total jobs.  Wage pressures are still falling, as employment was still 1.5% less than a year earlier and down 1.9% from peak.  Wages posted an on-year increase of 2.3%, lowest in 32 months and down from a 3.3% increase in the year to October.

So far, so good as investors await the U.S. jobs report at 13:30 GMT.  But caution is warranted.  Many times, the two North American neighbors report very different labor reports for the same month.  Analysts have been expecting a reduced 120-125K decline in U.S. jobs, but markets were rife with rumors earlier today that the figure will show a greater drop than that.  October’s jobless rate of 10.2% was sharply higher than September’s, so analysts have been inclined to expect a pause and no further deterioration on that score.  The broader U.S. un- and under-employment rate, which reached an astonishing 17.5% in October, has been attracting mounting attention, and that seems likely to continue cresting.

Copyright Larry Greenberg 2009.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.

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