Canada shed a surprising 35,700 jobs in November, due to a drop in temporary public administration work related to the mid-October federal election.
The November loss comes after four consecutive months of job growth and reverses gains made in October when the economy unexpectedly added 44,000 jobs. Though most of those jobs were temporary and coincided with the final weeks of the election.
Statistics Canada said the decline in federal public administration jobs across the country “corresponds” with the type of work done during the election and noted that similar swings was seen in previous federal elections.
The loss helped pushed the jobless rate back up to 7.1 per cent.
“The federal election got ‘blamed’ for a burst in Canadian job gains in October,” CIBC’s chief economist Avery Shenfeld said in a research note. “Over all, a weak report, even after looking through the election impact on the prior month,” the note said.
The private sector lost 41,000 jobs and the public sector lost 21,000. Weakness was seen across a wide swath of sectors, with declines in wholesale trade, finance, culture and real estate.
Alberta lost 15,000 jobs, its second month of job losses, as the plunge in oil prices continues to take its toll on the western province’s economy. Employment in Manitoba and New Brunswick also declined.
On the positive side, the manufacturing sector added workers, the first large increase since May. Construction as well as technical services sectors also added more employees.
“The one truly good piece of news today is that manufacturing seems to be coming back in a meaningful way at long last,” BMO’s chief economist Douglas Porter said in a research note.
Analysts had expected the economy to shed 10,000 jobs in November and the unemployment rate to stay at 7 per cent.
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