Canadian Employment (September 2019)

James Marple, Senior Economist | 416-982-2557

Date Published: October 11, 2019

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Another blockbuster month for Canadian hiring 

  • Canada created 53.7k jobs in September, well above the median consensus estimate of 7.5k. The six month employment trend now stands at a robust 40.4k clip.
  • The unemployment rate fell to 5.5% (from 5.7%), just a hair above its modern historical low of 5.4% hit in May of this year.
  • All of the jobs created were full time (+70.0k), while part-time fell 16.3k. Public sector jobs were up 32.6k, while private sector jobs pulled back 21k. Self-employment made up the rest, up 42.1k in the month.
  • By industry, this was again a case of strong service-producing employment (+49.4k). Most of that was in healthcare (+30.0k) and accommodation and food services (+23.3k). This was offset by a 36.7k drop in information.
  • In terms of provincial highlights, the unemployment rate was down in all of the Atlantic provinces, and fell to 5.3% in Ontario (down from 5.6% in August and a hair off its March low of 5.2%). In Alberta the unemployment rate fell to 6.6% (from 7.2%), while in B.C. it fell back below 5.0%, hitting 4.8%. In contrast, the unemployment rate edged up in Quebec to 4.8% (from an all-time low of 4.7% in August).
  • Wage growth, meanwhile, accelerated to 4.3% year-on-year (from 3.8% in August), while hours worked edged up to 1.3% (y/y) from 1.2% in August.

Key Implications

  • Hot dog. We're running out of superlatives to describe Canadian job market performance. While you could find some blemishes if you dug hard enough (the drop in private-sector jobs made up for by self-employment), for all intents and purposes this was a great report, especially following last month's barnburner. 
  • While the cloud of global uncertainty continues to hang over the outlook, it is getting harder to ignore the signal coming from the Canadian labour market. Ongoing healthy growth, with a wide dispersion across regions, alongside accelerating wage gains should give pause to expectations for the Bank of Canada to follow its peers in reducing interest rates. If anything, this puts the central bank back in wait and see mode.