By Julie Gordon
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada added 90,200 jobs in August, slightly below expectations, while the unemployment rate dropped to 7.1%, its lowest point since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Statistics Canada data showed on Friday.
Analysts surveyed by Reuters had expected a gain of 100,000 jobs and for the unemployment rate to fall to 7.3%. With the August gain, employment is now less than 1% below pre-pandemic levels. Hours worked, however, remain 2.6% below February 2020 levels.
“The first glance is that it should be pretty decent with plus 90 (thousand),” said Andrew Kelvin, chief Canada strategist at TD Securities.
“The concerning bit is that hours worked were little changed through the month of August,” he said. That could be regarded as a disappointment by the Bank of Canada.
Full-time employment rose by 68,500, while part-time employment rose by 21,700. The service sector added 92,900 jobs, driven mostly by accommodation and food services, while goods sector employment fell by a net 2,600 jobs as losses in agriculture and other segments outweighed gains in construction.
The Canadian dollar was trading 0.6% higher at 1.2586 to the greenback, or 79.45 U.S. cents.
(Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa, additional reporting by Fergal Smith ; editing by Philippa Fletcher and Steve Orlofsky)