OTTAWA — The economy lost 51,600 jobs last month in a decrease that drove up the unemployment rate and essentially wiped out a big gain in July, Statistics Canada said Friday.
The country’s jobless rate hit six per cent in August, up from its 5.8 per cent reading in July, said the agency’s labour force survey.
The often-volatile monthly employment numbers followed an increase of 54,100 positions in July.
Economists had expected an increase of 5,000 jobs for August and the unemployment rate to be 5.9 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.
The drop last month was fuelled by a loss of 92,000 part-time positions. On the positive side, however, the number of full-time jobs in August rose by 40,400.
Ontario experienced the biggest decrease of the provinces by far with a loss of 80,100 jobs — almost all of which were part time. The reading represented a drop of 1.1 per cent for the province and pushed its unemployment rate up to 5.7 per cent, from 5.4 per cent.
Alberta gained 16,200 jobs last month, 11,000 of which were full time, for an overall increase of 0.7 per cent.
Compared with 12 months earlier, Canada’s overall employment was up 0.9 per cent following the addition of 171,700 jobs, including 326,100 full-time positions.
For employee work, the economy lost 38,000 public-sector jobs last month, while the private sector shed 30,700 positions.
Average hourly wage growth, which is closely watched by the Bank of Canada, continued its gradual slide last month to 2.9 per cent after expanding 3.2 per cent in July and 3.6 per cent in June.
By industry, the goods-producing sector lost 30,400 jobs last month in a decline led by notable losses of 16,400 positions in construction and a drop of 9,200 in manufacturing.
The services sector shed 21,200 jobs in August after shedding 22,100 positions in professional, scientific and technical services.
The Canadian Press