The unemployment rate moved climbed 5.7 per cent in July. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canadian wage growth climbs to highest mark since 2009, but economy sheds jobs

OTTAWA — Wage growth in Canada accelerated last month to its highest level in more than decade, according to numbers released Friday from Statistics Canada.

The 4.5 per cent burst in wages came in a month that also produced less-positive data: the unemployment rate moved up to 5.7 per cent as Canada shed 24,200 jobs.

The increase in wages — as measured by year-over-year average hourly wage growth for all employees — marked the indicator’s strongest month since January 2009.

The reading, one of several wage measures closely watched by the Bank of Canada, was 3.8 per cent in June and 2.8 per cent in May.

Quebec saw the healthiest wage growth of nearly 6.2 per cent, while Ontario’s number was 5.1 per cent.

In terms of job creation, the economy saw its weakest three-month stretch since early 2018.

The survey found the numbers were nearly flat between May and July, a period that saw Canada add an average of 400 jobs per month. The agency cautions, however, that the recent monthly readings have been small enough that they’re within the margin of error and, therefore, statistically insignificant.

The economy had a been on a healthy run of monthly employment gains that began last summer. Even with the July decline, compared to a year earlier, the numbers show Canada added a healthy dose of 353,000 new positions — almost all of which were full time.

The July unemployment rate edged up to 5.7 per cent from 5.5 per cent in June and 5.4 per cent in May, which was its lowest mark since 1976.

A closer look at the numbers shows the economy lost 69,300 private-sector employee positions last month, while the public sector gained 17,500 jobs.

Alberta, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick posted notable declines in employment last month — and jobless rates moved higher in each of the provinces.

Quebec and Prince Edward Island added jobs last month, the report said.

Youth employment fell by about 19,000 positions, pushing the jobless rate up 0.7 percentage points to 11.4 per cent.

The number of positions for core-aged women — between 25 and 54 years old — dropped by about 18,000.

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