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Canada’s economy blows past expectations with gain of 81,100 jobs

OTTAWA — The Canadian economy gained a larger-than-expected 81,100 net jobs in August, largely driven by increases in part-time work, Statistics Canada data showed on Friday in its last major release of economic statistics before a national election is triggered.

The national unemployment rate held steady, as expected, at 5.7 per cent in August, while wages for permanent employees increased 3.8 per cent year-over-year.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a gain of 15,000 jobs.

Statistics Canada said 20,500 more people were working in educational services in August, largely in Quebec. Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing was also up, rising by 22,400 in August, while the professional, scientific and technical services sector saw an increase of 16,800 jobs.

Meanwhile, the number of private sector employees increased by 94,000 in August, while the number of public sector employees and self-employed workers held steady.

The latest jobs numbers will likely be welcomed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, who find themselves in a tight bid for reelection against Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives.

Scheer and the Conservatives have vowed to focus the pending election campaign – which Canadian law dictates must be triggered by Sept 15 – on economic concerns, including the cost of living and affordability. Canadians head to the polls on Oct 21.

Friday’s jobs report also come after Bank of Canada Deputy Governor Lawrence Schembri said in a speech on Thursday the country is showing a “welcome degree of resilience,” against negative shocks, in part, because of a strong labor market.

© Thomson Reuters 2019

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