London jobless rate declines to 4.8%, participation rate drops again

Daniel Fowler
May 13, 2019

Employment rose by 106,500 in April, Statistics Canada said Friday in Ottawa, the biggest one-month increase in data going back to 1976. The monthly gain is the highest since data became comparable in 1976. Coupled with a rise in the participation rate to 69.1 per cent from 68.6, the province's unemployment rate saw a steep climb from 4.9 per cent to 5.4, but is still the fourth lowest in the country.

Strong increases in youth employment also lowered the unemployment rate for that demographic to record lows.

The labour market has seen strong employment numbers since mid-2016 and has remained a bright spot for an economy that has struggled in other areas - to the point it nearly stalled over the winter.

Canada's economy posted record job gains in April, along with a pick-up in wages, in the strongest sign yet the nation's economy has emerged from a soft patch.

The Canadian dollar rallied on the back of the jobs report to 1.3400 against the USA dollar.

In the Fredericton and Oromocto region, the unemployment rate was at 8.3 per cent, down from 8.5 per cent this time past year. "Almost every indicator of quality came in strong this month", TD senior economist Brian DePratto wrote in a research note.

Additionally, the volatility in global oil prices, higher borrowing costs, a slowdown and higher prices in the housing market could all contribute to a slowdown in Canada's GDP expansion.

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Total hours worked also picked up, increasing by 1.3 per cent annually in April, from 0.9 per cent in March.

The employment increase cut across much of the labour market: full-time (up 73,000) and part-time (up 34,000); private sector (up 84,000) and public sector (up 23,000); goods-producing sectors (up 40,000) and services-producing sectors (up 67,000).

Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in Ontario increased by 205,000 or 2.8 per cent.

The gains were spread across many industries, with both the services and factory sectors seeing gains. Annual hourly wage gains accelerated to 2.5 per cent in April, the fastest annual gain since September, up from 2.4 per cent in March.

"We're drawing in people, and that tells you how tight the labour market is", Tony Stillo, director of Canada economics at Oxford Economics, said by phone. Jobs, he wrote, have also leaned toward those under 25 - jobs tied to shorter workweeks and lower productivity sectors.

The central bank has raised rates five times since July 2017.

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