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Canada job growth slows in October amid Covid-19 surge

Canada's unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent in October as the economy added 84,000 jobs, but further gains were dampened by new Covid-19 lockdowns; in a 2015 file image a Canadian flag flies in front of the peace tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa - GEOFF ROBINS / ©AFP
Canada's unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent in October as the economy added 84,000 jobs, but further gains were dampened by new Covid-19 lockdowns; in a 2015 file image a Canadian flag flies in front of the peace tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa - GEOFF ROBINS / ©AFP

(AFP)

Canada’s unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent in October as the economy added 84,000 jobs, but further gains were dampened by new Covid-19 lockdowns, the national statistical agency said Friday.

Employment in Canada has increased at a monthly rate of 2.7 percent since May, but economists had expected fewer jobs to be created last month as new restrictions were reintroduced across the country to slow the spread of a second wave of the coronavirus.

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Statistics Canada noted that increases in employment across several industries were partially offset by a big drop in accommodation and food services jobs.

Full-time employment rose 69,000, making up most of the gains, while self-employment rose by 33,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic in March.

Overall, about 2.4 million Canadians who don’t normally work from home did so in October, the report said.

CIBC analyst Royce Mendes called the report “clearly good news versus expectations.”

“While employment still remains a long way from home, and the (upcoming) colder months could see an ebb and flow of jobs as governments try to adjust activity to contain the virus, the labor market began the fourth quarter on solid footing,” he said in a research note.

Overall, the number of unemployed Canadians held steady at 1.8 million in October, up 683,000 or 60.2 percent from pre-pandemic levels in February.

The unemployment rate had soared to a record high of 13.7 percent at the height of a first lockdown in May, before declining gradually over the summer.

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