OTTAWA, Ont. — The Canadian economy keeps outperforming expectations, continuing a trend of strong monthly gains by adding 24,700 jobs in May after a massive pick-up the previous month.
Economists had expected a more modest 15,000 increase, particularly following April’s oversized 108,000 gain.
Several underlying factors in the May numbers announced Friday by Statistics Canada pointed to a labour market that is returning to health quickly after the 2008-09 recession.
Statistics Canada noted that the job gains would have been stronger but for the loss of 42,500 part-time workers and 28,000 from the self-employment ranks.
May saw a 67,300 increase in full-time workers, an indication employers are increasing work hours as they step up production.
And there was more good news in the May numbers — regular employment rose dramatically by 52,800 jobs, and the private sector added 43,400 workers.
Even the summer labour market for students showed signs of normalizing, with 54,000 more students aged 20 to 24 finding employment last month, an increase of 3.1 percentage points compared to May 2009 when the economy was in the throes of a deep slump.
Despite the increases in all the major categories, Canada’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.1 per cent. That’s because more people were drawn into the labour force in anticipation of finding work.
Employment gains in Canada have generally surpassed economists’ expectations since last July, when the economy began to come out of its nearly year-long slide.
Since then, Canada’s economy has added 310,000 jobs, recouping about 75 per cent of the losses suffered during the recession.
Among core-aged workers, women have fared better than men by almost two-to-one.
The government agency said the key gains last month came in the transportation and warehousing industries, as well as health care and social assistance, and public administration.
Construction, which has been strong of late, was little changed last month, as was the factory sector.
There were also setbacks in the accommodation and food services sector, information, culture and recreation, and in natural resources.
Regionally, all provinces except British Columbia and Prince Edward Island saw employment rise or remain steady in May, with Ontario registering the biggest increase with a 17,700 pick-up.