Construction workers on the job at the site for Montreal's CHUM super hospital in Montreal on July 2, 2013. The Canadian economy created almost 28,000 construction jobs in September 2018, reversing some of the losses in the previous months. (Ryan Remiorz/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Part-time job gains drive up September job numbers

Canada’s economy cranked up 63,000 jobs in September, edging the unemployment rate lower to 5.9 per cent, and offsetting job losses in August, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

However, almost all of the September job gains came from an increase in part-time employment and were mostly concentrated in Ontario and British Columbia with little change in other provinces.

The economy created 80,000 net part-time positions. In contrast, full-time work fell by almost 17,000 positions.

More people worked in construction, finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing public administration and agriculture, Statistics Canada said. At the same time, employment fell in information, culture and recreation, and business, building and other support services.

On a year-over-year basis, Canada gained 222,000 jobs since September 2017 or 1.2 per cent, entirely the result of gains in full-time work (+224,000). Over the same period, total hours worked increased 0.7 per cent.

“The monthly gyrations in Canadian jobs data can make it tough to draw many firm conclusions on the true health of the economy, but the underlying picture looks reasonably solid,” said BMO Financial Group chief economist Douglas Porter.

“The main point is that employment is still growing faster than the underlying labour force, cutting into slack and supporting decent income gains.”

September job numbers reinforce the likelihood of an October interest rate hike by the Bank of Canada, and keep a firm foundation on further moves in 2019, Porter said.

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