Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Manitoba adds full-time jobs in May

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OTTAWA -- Manitoba's unemployment rate improved in May, falling to 5.7 per cent from 5.8 per cent in April.

According to Statistics Canada, the province produced 3,000 new jobs in the month, all full-time positions, though there was also a reported decline of 2,200 part-time jobs.

The increase last month makes up for some of the losses reported in Manitoba in April, when the federal agency said Manitoba lost 11,100 jobs.

In May, the big winners in this province were agriculture, with 2,800 new jobs; finance, insurance and real estate with 2,100 additional positions; and trade, transportation and warehousing, which each produced 1,700 new positions.

According to Statistics Canada, manufacturing lost 3,900 jobs in the province last month.

The Canadian economy had the biggest month of employment growth in more than a decade in May, creating 95,000 new jobs.

Historically, it was the second-biggest job creation month in 35 years -- just 100 lower than August 2002.

The number was so shocking economists and Prime Minister Stephen Harper cautioned the Statistics Canada monthly reports are subject to wide margins of error.

"We don't obviously want to pay too much attention to what happens month to month, because we know this is very volatile, but the Canadian economy is now up to about a million net new jobs created since the recession," he said at a photo event in Ottawa.

"We obviously know that's one of the best records in the developed world."

Taken as reported, the massive gain was the first major improvement of 2013 and many times greater than economists had expected, dropping the unemployment rate one-tenth of a point to 7.1 per cent.

There was little to quibble about in the details of the Statistics Canada report.

All the new jobs came in the private sector and in the employee class -- rather than the less desirable self-employment category -- and 76,700 of them were full-time.

Even young people had an easier time finding employment in May, with about 54,000 of the new workers in the 15-to-24 age group joining the labour force. That drove down the youth unemployment rate to 13.6 per cent, almost a full point lower than April.

"There's no question this report is absolutely spectacular," said Bank of Montreal chief economist Doug Porter. "Even some of the details were incredible... so it doesn't look like it was a complete outlier.

"But I would add a couple of notes of caution. I would sincerely doubt we are going to see anything close to this repeated in the months ahead, and the other thing, it did follow a real period of weakness."

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 8, 2013 B11

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