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Canada job gains blow past expectations, almost four times forecast

By Financial Post |

Canadian employers added 154,000 jobs in November and the jobless rate plunged to six per cent, further evidence the economy is on track to complete the comeback from the COVID-19 recession by early next year.

Statistics Canada’s monthly Labour Force Survey put the number of working Canadians at 19.3 million, a one per cent increase from February 2020 and effectively the level of employment the economy was on track to achieve by the end of 2021 if the pandemic hadn’t interrupted the trend. The unemployment rate was hovering around 5.5 per cent ahead of the COVID-19 crisis, but a rate of six per cent is closer to the norm.

The employment rate, a separate measure that compares the working population to the overall population, was 61.4 per cent, the highest since February 2020, when the rate was 61.8 per cent.

The numbers should buoy confidence in Canada’s recovery, since both the increase in hiring and the outsized drop in the jobless rate far exceeded the expectations of private forecasters. The Bay Street consensus ahead of Statistics Canada’s latest report on the labour market was for an increase of about 40,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of about 6.5 per cent.

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