State of the labour Market

July 2019 Labour Force Survey: Momentum Cools to Start the Third Quarter

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July was a rough month for the Canadian job market.

After cruising through economic volatility in the first half of the year, employment took its largest hit of 2019. The monthly change was within Statistics Canada’s margin of error, but was still enough to send the employment rate down 0.2 percentage points, back to its March level.

The drop in jobs would have been even worse were it not for upticks in self-employment and public sector employees. Youth stood out as the main source of weakness, a partial reversal of the cohort’s strength earlier this year. Meanwhile, contrasting the subdued job numbers, wage growth took another step upward.   

While still in decent shape overall, the job market clearly has lost some momentum. The volatility of the labour force survey is well-known, and one-month moves are always worth a grain of salt. Still, it’s discouraging to see employment growth lose steam amid recent signs of turmoil in the global economy. Today’s report is the last one before the Bank of Canada’s next rate announcement in early September. It will be interesting to see if the recent cool-down sways the Bank towards easing, following the Fed and other central banks around the world.

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