Windsor’s jobless rate increases despite national employment surge

Among the new jobs created in April were 32,400 in the category of wholesale and retail trade positions

Canada posted the largest one-month employment gain on record, according to Statistics Canada numbers released today, suggesting the country's economy may not be as sluggish right now as many predicted.

In Quebec, employment increased by 38,000 in April, and the unemployment rate declined to 4.9%, the lowest rate since comparable data became available in 1976. The unemployment rate declined to 5.7%, the lowest since December, from 5.8% in March.

The job gain was led by employment increases in the two most populous provinces, Ontario and Quebec, important battlegrounds in the upcoming vote.

For months, the labour market had been the lone bright spot in a struggling economy, and was the only thing giving policy makers much comfort.

"It was kind of a 'wow.' Pretty great job numbers", said Dawn Desjardins, deputy chief economist at Royal Bank of Canada. Economists had forecast employers would add about 12,000 positions.

That shift in rate expectations also influenced activity in the Canadian dollar, which traded late in the day at 74.53 U.S. cents, up one-third of a penny on the day. It was largely due to a drop in oil prices, instability in housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver, and uncertainties around global trade.

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Overall, compared with March, employment in April was up 0.6 per cent, which was the highest proportional monthly expansion since 1994 when it reached 0.7 per cent.

However, the strong labour market could boost consumer demand and the nation's services sector, which could prevent a recession.

On a year-over-year basis, employment grew 426,000, or 2.3 percent, with gains in both full-time jobs of 248,000 and part-time jobs of 179,000.

"This should see the unemployment rate edge higher to 5.9% from 5.8% while wage growth for permanent employees should hold at 2.3% y/y". Annual hourly wage gains accelerated to 2.5 per cent in April, the fastest annual gain since September, up from 2.4 per cent in March. The labour market has been a bulwark against these other lagging indicators for a few months now.

Regionally, there were gains in most provinces including Alberta, which saw 21,400 jobs created. After the jobs report, bond-market indicators of rate expectations reduced the odds of a cut by year-end to 20 per cent, from 35 per cent a day earlier.

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