(Reuters) —The Canadian economy added 34,300 jobs in August, recouping all 30,400 positions lost in July as it returned to the recent trend of slow net increases in employment, according to Statistics Canada data released on Friday.
The gains topped all expectations by analysts surveyed by Reuters, who predicted on average a gain of 10,000, with the highest predictions at 25,000 new jobs.
The unemployment rate remained at 7.3 per cent, as forecast, because more Canadians looked for work in August.
All the job gains were part time, mirroring losses in July. August saw an estimated 46,700 new part-time positions and 12,500 fewer full-time jobs. In July, there was a loss of 51,600 part-time jobs and a gain of 21,300 full-time positions.
March and April saw a whopping 140,500 new jobs, but the trend settled in May and June to a more sustainable pace of more than 7,000 new jobs each month before July's surprise loss.
Analysts had said they had not seen sudden economic bursts or slowdowns associated with the recent fluctuations. Indeed, the figures are only estimates based on a sample survey, with a one-in-three chance the actual employment total is 28,600 higher or lower than the StatsCan estimate.
Canada has recouped all the jobs lost in the recession, and employment stands 176,600 higher than in August 2011, with virtually all the increase in full-time positions.
The construction industry, which may be cooling off after a housing boom, lost 44,000 positions in August and now has 30,400 fewer jobs than a year earlier. All figures are seasonally adjusted.
All of the net new jobs in August were in the service sector, with the biggest increases in transportation, warehousing, professional and scientific services.
U.S. growth weaker than expected
In the United States, job growth slowed sharply in August, setting the stage for the Federal Reserve to pump additional money into the sluggish economy next week and dealing a blow to President Barack Obama as he seeks reelection in November.
Nonfarm payrolls increased only 96,000 last month, the U.S. labour department said on Friday, while the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July, since so many Americans gave up the hunt for work.
The survey of households from which the jobless rate is derived showed a drop in employment.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected payrolls to rise 125,000 last month, but some had pushed their forecasts higher after upbeat data on Thursday.
© Copyright Canadian HR Reporter, Thomson Reuters Canada Limited. All rights reserved.