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Canadian employment increased 42,000 in July, revised estimates show

H.S. Borji
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Statistics Canada revised its July employment figures on Friday, following a surprise announcement earlier in the week that the agency detected an error in the processing of its initial report.

Canadian employment rebounded in July, led by a sharp increase in part-time employment, revised estimates showed. Overall employment in Canada increased by 42,000 in July, Statistics Canada reported today in Ottawa. A median estimate of economists forecast employment levels to increase 20,000.

The jobless rate declined 0.1 percentage points to 7 percent. The participation rate was unchanged at 66.1 percent.

Part-time employment increased 60,000 and was responsible for all of the gains posted last month. Full-time employment declined by more than 18,000, official data showed.

Compared to July 2013, overall employment increased just 0.9 percent or 153,000, with most of the growth in part-time jobs. The total hours worked edged up 0.3 percent compared to year-ago levels.

On a regional level, employment increased 40,000 in Ontario, offsetting the previous month’s decline. Ontario’s unemployment rate held steady at 7.5 percent as more people joined the labour force. Compared to year ago levels, employment in Canada’s most populous province was up 60,000.

On an industry level, employment levels increased 46,000 in educational services.

There were 17,000 more workers employed in the information, culture and recreation industry, official data showed. Compared to July 2013, employment in this sector was up 7.3 percent.

Construction jobs declined sharply in July. In total, 39,000 fewer workers were employed in this sector last month. Compared to July 2013, employment in construction was down 46,000.

Employment in health care and social assistance declined 26,000, largely as a result of large layoffs in Quebec’s social assistance sector. Compared to July 2013, employment in this sector was up 4.2 percent.

In total, private sector employment increased by 55,000 in July. Public sector employment increased slightly and self-employment declined 37,000, official data showed.

The revised figures come just one week after the government’s statistics agency said employment levels were virtually unchanged in July. However, StatsCan was quick to retract its August 8 estimate and on Tuesday posted the following message on its website:

“An error has been detected in the processing of the August 8 Labour Force Survey release. This error impacts only the July 2014 estimates.”

The unusual message prompted speculation the government was making a significant revision to its initial estimate. The message also put more heat on Statistics Canada, which has been mired in controversy since 2011 when it abolished its mandatory long-form census.

Despite the revision, the new numbers will likely fall short of boosting optimism in the Canadian labour market. Job growth has been inconsistent and volatile all year, as employers have taken turns adding and destroying jobs on a monthly basis.

A weak labour market has given the Bank of Canada plenty of justification for keeping interest rates low. The BOC has held its benchmark lending rate at 1 percent since September 2010 and expects rates to remain unchanged for a while longer as the economy continues to operate below full capacity.

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