Ottawa—The Canadian economy’s job creation came to an abrupt end in July, suffering the first major reversal in almost a year with the shedding of 30,400 jobs, pushing up the national unemployment rate up by one-tenth of a point to 7.3 per cent.
Economists had been warning that employment growth was likely to moderate in the second half of 2012, but still expected a modest pick-up of about 6,000 new jobs for July.
Instead, the month brought the biggest decline since last October, predominantly in Quebec and among older women, and all in the part-time category.
Canada’s dollar was down nearly half a cent after the announcement, falling 0.46 to 100.35 cents US.
Quebec’s loss of 28,700 jobs, the highest in the country, will likely become an issue in the campaign leading to a Sept. 4 provincial vote, although Quebec’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to 7.6 per cent as an even bigger number of workers left the labour force.
Statistics Canada said Canada is still well ahead in terms of job creation for the year, with a cumulative increase of 124,600, although the vast majority of those gains came in two months—March and April.
The report did contain a smattering of less gloomy news.
The month produced 21,300 net, new full-time jobs, more than offset by the loss of 51,600 part-time workers.
And average wages kept rising, to 3.6 per cent higher than a year ago.
Still, the report was surprisingly negative given the United States recorded a better than expected 163,000 jobs increase in July.
The statistical agency said there were significant losses came in the wholesale and retail trade sector, which declined by about 30,000, while employment in the professional, scientific and technical services fell by 22,000, and public administration dropped 17,000.
On the goods producing side, manufacturing fell by 18,000 and construction was up by 11,000.
Offsetting the declines were gains in information, culture and recreation, up 24,000, and finance, insurance, real estate and leasing, which increased by 19,000.
In an unusual element of the report, employment among women aged over 55 fell by 30,100.
The over-55 age group had seen strong job growth during the recovery.
Regionally, five provinces suffered job losses last month—Quebec, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Newfoundland.
The only significant job gains came in Ontario, which saw an increase of 10,600.