Labor Market Better in Canada than the United States

September 10, 2010

Canadian employment rose 35.8K last month, which is the same percentage increase as a 271K gain in the U.S. labor market.  U.S. jobs contracted by 54K for a second straight time in August, by comparison.  Over the past five months, Canadian jobs expanded at a 3.6% annualized rate, three times as fast as the increase in U.S. jobs even though the latter benefited from the hiring of temporary census workers.  Canada’s five-month pace of employment growth was also faster than its on-year gain of 2.4%.  In the year to August, full-time workers in Canada rose by 2.2% and part-timers went up 3.1%.  The Canadian unemployment rate of 8.1%, although above July’s 8.0%, also compares favorably with the latest U.S. jobless rate of 9.64%, and average hourly earnings growth of 2.3% from a year earlier was stronger than the U.S. comparable increase of 1.7%.

The most worrisome aspect of Canada’s August labor statistics is a 39.9K decline in private-sector employees, the second straight monthly drop.  Factory workers fell by 25.6K, erasing most of July’s 28.5K increase.  The main source of job growth last month involved educational workers, a typical seasonal pattern, and public-sector jobs as a whole increased by 57.5K.  Private-sector employee growth over the year since August 2009 has been decent enough, amounting to 250.5K or 2.3%, but this area bears watching over coming months.

Copyright Larry Greenberg 2010.  All rights reserved.  No secondary distribution without express permission.

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