Unemployment increased in July but wages were higher

By Steve Randall

There was little change in employment in July while the unemployment rate edged 0.2% higher to 5.7% as more people looked for work.

Statistics Canada data shows that there were 353,000 more jobs in July compared with a year earlier, a 1.9% increase. Employment decreased in Alberta, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and increased in Quebec and Prince Edward Island.

“24,200 fewer jobs for the month and weak labour force growth meant the unemployment rate ticked up slightly in July,” said Cory Renner, economist at The Conference Board of Canada. “However, the decline should be taken in the context of Canada’s phenomenal labour market performance over the past 7 months. Even still, two straight month of jobs declines suggests Canada’s labour force is losing some steam. On the positive side of things, year-over-year wage growth rose to a ten-year high.”

He added that even with the higher unemployment rate, year-over-year growth in average hourly wages rose to a whopping 4.5% in July compared to a year earlier, the highest year-over-year gain since early 2009.

There were more people identified as self-employed in July as those employed in the private sector decreased.

By sector, wholesale and retail trade saw the largest decline – of 20,000 – but this sector was up 48,000 year-over-year.

Construction jobs gained 25,000 with Alberta and Quebec posting notable gains.

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