State of the labour Market

November Labour Force Survey: A Sigh of Relief, at Least for Today

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Canadian labour market trackers can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for today. The November Labour Force Survey posted the largest monthly jump in jobs on record, edging out its previous best in March 2012.  

And that wasn’t the only banner indicator: the unemployment rate dropped to its lowest level since consistent LFS data has been available. Most economic headlines have been downbeat of late, both at home and in financial markets abroad, so today’s strong report is a pleasant surprise. Still, job numbers have seen some wild swings this year, so this report should be taken with a grain of salt.

Particularly surprising was a noticeable jump in the Alberta employment rate. The ongoing challenge with Canada’s oil price gap looks like it is dragging on payrolls in the resource extraction sector. We’ll be watching closely for a drop-back in December.

Last, the pace of hourly earnings growth eased again, continuing its recent trend. The Labour Force Survey is just one of the wage growth measures tracked by the Bank of Canada, and can fluctuate for a number of reasons. With the unemployment rate hitting its record low and ongoing reports of hiring difficulties, labour market conditions should be supportive of wage growth — we’ll see if it comes in 2019.    

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