OTTAWA – The economy added 12,000 net new jobs in September, but the unemployment rate climbed by one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.1 per cent as more people entered the labour force, Statistics Canada said Friday.
The gain in the overall number of jobs came due to a gain in part-time employment, offset by a drop in full-time jobs.
The number of part-time jobs increased by 74,000 in September, but full-time employment fell by 62,000.
The September jobs report was the last major piece of economic data before the federal election on Oct. 19.
The Bank of Canada has cut its key interest rate twice this year in a bid to help an economy which contracted in the first half of the year due in large part to the drop in oil prices.
BMO chief economist Doug Porter called it an odd jobs report.
“While no doubt it is significantly weaker than the decent headline result would suggest, it’s also probably not as bad as the steep drop in full-time jobs would indicate,” Porter said.
“The plunge in education employment looks plain weird, and is likely to partly reverse next month. Probably the single truest measure in this report is the slow upward grind in the unemployment rate.”
The biggest mover in the September jobs report was the educational services sector which posted a loss of 51,000 jobs for the month, mostly in Ontario and Quebec.
Statistics Canada noted there have been a number of changes in the sector which could affect employment, including recent contract negotiations. The agency noted that before its seasonal adjustment the number of people working in the sector increased, but less than typically observed, resulting in the decline in the seasonally adjusted result.
The information, culture and recreation sector added 33,000 jobs last month, while the “other services” group added 22,000 jobs.
The number of self-employed increased by 31,000 in September, while public sector employment fell 29,000. The number of private sector employees climbed by 10,000.
Regionally, British Columbia and Alberta both posted gains of 12,000 jobs, while Manitoba increased by 4,000.
However, Ontario saw a drop of 34,000 jobs in September as losses in full-time employment were partly offset by gains in part-time work. Quebec added 11,000.
For the third quarter, the economy added 31,000 jobs compared with 33,000 in the second quarter and 63,000 in the first three months of the year.