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Canada lost 40,000 jobs in August, 3rd monthly decline in a row

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The Canadian economy lost 40,000 jobs in August, pushing the unemployment rate up 0.5 percentage points to 5.4%, Statistics Canada reported on Friday.

Economists had expected the economy to add 10,000 to 15,000 jobs in a month after two consecutive months of declines in June and July.

Instead, August’s figures bring the aggregate of losses over the three months since May to over 100,000.

The unemployment rate was enough to push the unemployment rate up for the first time in seven months. In June, Canada’s unemployment rate fell to her lowest level of 4.9%. After being flat in July, it is now up half a percentage point from its record low.

Most of the unemployed came from two sectors: 28,000 in construction and nearly 50,000 in education.

Education-related jobs typically decline during the summer. That’s one reason why Scotiabank economist Derek Holt doesn’t tend to worry too much about that decline.

“Where have all the teachers gone? They probably went nowhere but back to school. It could be a distortion of the data.

As for construction, Tu Nguyen, an economist at consultancy RSM Canada, said the slowdown was expected as a series of aggressive Bank of Canada rate hikes is pouring cold water on the housing market.

“Construction projects have been delayed and canceled amid multiple rate hikes,” she told CBC News in an interview.

Richard Lyall, president of construction firm Rescon, said in an interview with CBC News on Friday that the long-term outlook is booming, but that the short-term is slowing down a bit.

“Rates have started to rise, certain projects have started to stall (…) and we expect more to come down,” he said. “People start looking and say they can’t afford to do this right now. And they don’t know where it’s going.”

Nguyen said there is still labor demand outside of these two sectors, but data may look weak for some time due to the mismatch between jobs and qualified workers. “There is a gap where people are unemployed because construction workers can’t magically get jobs in data analytics or technology or healthcare,” she said. “[But] There are areas where employment is still very strong. “

Growing fears of recession

But she wasn’t the only one to look at the numbers and utter the R word. increase.

“A correction could always change things ahead, but the deterioration in the job market seems to be happening sooner than expected,” he said.

The average hourly wage for the month was $31.33. That’s a 5.4% increase over a year ago. For comparison, Canadian inflation is currently at 7.6%, which means wage growth has not yet caught up with inflation.

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