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Province's unemployment rate up; still low compared to others

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Nearly 5,000 new workers entered the provincial labour force in September, driving up Manitoba’s unemployment rate to 5.5 per cent from 5.2 per cent in August, Statistics Canada said today.

The agency said the province’s labour force swelled to 671,200 during the month, which was 4,900 more than in August.

Because the Manitoba economy created only 2,500 new jobs during the month, 2,400 of the new job seekers wound up in the unemployment ranks. That boosted the number of unemployed job seekers to 37,200 from 34,800, driving up the unemployment rate.

But even with the increase, Manitoba still had the third-lowest jobless rate in the country behind Alberta and Saskatchewan, both at 4.3 per cent in September.

The Canadian economy, meanwhile, created almost 12,000 net new jobs in September as fewer young people looking for work also helped slightly reduce the unemployment rate, Statistics Canada said.

The national unemployment rate was 6.9 per cent for the month, down 0.2 percentage points. It was the first time since December 2008 that it has been below seven per cent.

"Amid all the to-ing and fro-ing in Canada’s headline job tally so far in 2013, the underlying picture that has emerged is one of moderate gains — certainly a bit cooler than in recent years, but enough to trim the jobless rate," Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter wrote in a note.

The lacklustre jobs report followed a move by the Bank of Canada last week to lower its forecasts for economic growth in the second half of 2013 and possibly for next year.

Senior deputy governor Tiff Macklem said the third quarter will likely show an economy that advanced at a more moderate pace of 2.0 to 2.5 per cent. The central bank had earlier forecast a pace of 3.8 per cent.

— Staff/Canadian Press

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