OTTAWA -- Canada's economy showed surprising bounce last month, churning out an impressive 59,300 jobs and dropping the unemployment rate two-tenths of a point to 7.2 per cent.
The report from Statistics Canada Friday was among the strongest of the year, not only in terms of job creation but also in the type of jobs. Almost all the gains were in full-time employment in the private sector. As well, hours worked increased 0.2 per cent in November.
Prior to the report's early-morning release, markets and economists had looked for modest gains of about 10,000 workers, in line with a weak summer that produced the worst quarter for gross domestic product growth in more than a year -- an anemic 0.6 per cent advance during the July-September period.
But November turned into the second most productive month of the year on the job front, bested only by March's increase of 82,000 jobs.
"The bottom line is the Canadian economy is not quite as weak as some of the recent indicators had suggested. It's very encouraging," said Doug Porter, deputy chief economist with the Bank of Montreal.
"On a stand-alone basis, this was one of the best job gains we've seen in the year and the unemployment rate has matched its cycle low. Even in the structure of the jobs, they're mostly full time, they're mostly in the private sector."
Manitoba has regained a good chunk of the jobs it lost in October, according to the survey.
Statistics Canada said the Manitoba economy added 5,500 new jobs in November after shedding 7,300 the previous month.
November's gains included 1,500 full-time positions and 3,900 part-time ones (rounded off), the report shows. The October survey showed 2,400 full-time and 4,800 part-time jobs lost that month.
The November job gains drove down the provincial unemployment rate to 5.3 per cent from 5.6 per cent in October. It had been 5.0 per cent before the October losses. The jobless rate would have declined even further were it not for 3,600 new workers entering the provincial labour force in November.
The Statistics Canada figures show with November's rebound, the Manitoba economy added 8,500 new jobs in the 12-month period from November 2011 to November this year. In percentage terms, that's a 1.4 per cent employment growth. The national average for the same period was 1.7 per cent.
Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty noted the jobless rate is at the lowest level since the 2008-09 recession, a level also met in June. "As I say, this augurs well for jobs, growth and prosperity in Canada," he told the Commons.
Canada's dollar moved up smartly on the news, gaining a quarter of a cent against the U.S. dollar to about 101.14 cents US. The currency was also helped by a simultaneous U.S. jobs report showing a 146,000-job pickup in November and an unemployment rate drop to 7.7 per cent, the lowest in almost four years. But the Labour Department revised downward the previous two months by 49,000 jobs.
-- The Canadian Press, with files from Murray McNeill