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Loss of 7,300 jobs pushes jobless rate to 5.6 percent

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Two consecutive months of employment gains came to a screeching halt in October when the Manitoba economy shed 7,300 jobs, driving the local unemployment rate back up to 5.6 per cent.

Statistics Canada’s monthly labour force report issued today shows the number of employed Manitobans dropped to 627,700 in October from 635,000 in September.

The losses included 4,800 part-time and 2,400 full-time positions (rounded off), the agency said.

The losses came after earlier Statistics Canada data had shown the provincial economy adding 3,400 new jobs in August and another 6,600 in September. During that time, the provincial jobless rate fell from 5.7 per cent in July to 5.0 per cent in September.

"Despite this increase, Manitoba continued to have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country (in October)," Statistics Canada said. The only two provinces with lower rates were resource-rich Alberta and Saskatchewan, at 4.5 per cent and 4.7 per cent respectively.

The Statistics Canada numbers also showed Canada’s recent strong jobs performance slowed to a crawl in October, as the national economy managed a meagre 1,800 new jobs. That wasn’t enough to nudge the national unemployment rate off 7.4 per cent.

But it was the surprisingly strong numbers south of the border that impressed markets and economists, with the U.S. reporting an above-consensus 171,000 additional jobs, all in the private sector. As well, employment for September and August were revised upwards.

"The big story today is the U.S. job numbers, which generally were better than expected," said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist with BMO Capital Markets.

"We’re not pounding the ground on this one, but between the upturn in the housing sector in the U.S. and somewhat better jobs picture, there are more grounds for optimism and that will spill into Canada."

The Canadian dollar jumped on the news and was up 0.29 to 100.61 cents US in early afternoon trading.

— with files from Canadian Press

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Friday, November 2, 2012 at 1:20 PM CDT: updates with Canadian dollar value as of early afternoon

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