OTTAWA -- Canada's economy eked out just enough new jobs to keep unemployment at a five-year low, but it was the U.S. labour performance that caught the eye of the market and revived talk of higher interest rates.
The 13,200 employment gain in Canada last month was almost dead on economists' expectations, with Quebec gaining most of the numbers.
That kept the national jobless rate at 6.9 per cent for the second consecutive month, the lowest since the start of the 2008-09 recession.
"That's the very good news here, that the drop below seven per cent wasn't a fluke," said Doug Porter, chief economist with the Bank of Montreal. "The bottom line is there is still some underlying improvement in the job market."
But the big news came south of the border, where the Labour Department calculated 204,000 employment gains for the month, while also revising estimates for September and August by about 60,000 combined. That was a surprise given October was the month of the U.S. partial shutdown. The backward revisions also mean the U.S. has been churning out about 200,000 new jobs for three months running, adding substance to Thursday's announcement the American economy expanded by 2.8 per cent in the third quarter.
Quebec posted an outsized 34,100 gain. There were small employment declines in B.C., Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
-- The Canadian Press