Canada's labour market surprises with biggest one-month gain since 1976

Canada just posted the biggest jobs gain on record

Nationally, the unemployment rate declined to 5.7 per cent. Statistics Canada says the economy added a record 106,500 jobs in April. But the return to strong job gains in April, together with rising wage growth, should convince the central bank that the economy still faces significant capacity and inflation pressures from the labour market - enough, at very least, to keep a rate cut off the table. There was little change in other provinces.

That shift in rate expectations also influenced activity in the Canadian dollar, which traded late in the day at 74.53 USA cents, up one-third of a penny on the day.

"There's still an evident mismatch between what the jobs data are saying about the economy and measures of sales and output that get aggregated into real GDP reports", he wrote. Toronto's housing market, the country's largest, is stabilizing after a recent slump.

The national unemployment rate was 5.7 per cent.

However, the strong labour market could boost consumer demand and the nation's services sector, which could prevent a recession. There were 83.8k jobs created in the private sector while 22.7k were added in the public sector - the majority of those being full-time positions. Statscan said 12 of 16 industry groups posted higher employment, led by jumps of 32,000 in the wholesale and retail sector, and 29,000 in construction.

Even wages - which have been sluggish of late - are showing signs of life. Pay gains for permanent employees rose to 2.6 per cent, the strongest increase since August.

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The jobs increases have largely reflected higher labour force numbers as the economy pulls in new workers - youth and immigrants in particular - rather than falling unemployment.

Talking point: The strong job numbers were driven by the fastest annual gains in hourly compensation since September, a strong increase in the youth employment rate.

Statistics Canada's monthly labour force survey showed that employment surged by 107,000 jobs in the month, the biggest figure since the statistical agency began using comparable methodology in 1976.

"We're drawing in people, and that tells you how tight the labour market is", Tony Stillo, director of Canada economics at Oxford Economics, said by phone.

Employment had increased in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and Prince Edward Island, while a decline in New Brunswick was observed.

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