The Canadian economy shed 10,700 jobs last month as the private sector trimmed payrolls.

The country’s unemployment rate rose to 6.6 per cent in November from a near six-year low of 6.5 per cent a month earlier, Statistics Canada said Friday.

Employment in Canada has risen 0.8 per cent in the past year, with part-time work increasing 1.9 per cent while full-time jobs have risen 0.6 per cent. In that period, total hours worked are little changed.

Jobs numbers have see-sawed all year, but the report comes after employers had added to headcount in the prior two months.

The average pace of hiring has improved over the year. In the past half-year, employment has risen by an average of 21,300 a month, a faster pace than the 3,000 new jobs on average per month in the previous six months, the agency said.

Meantime, the employment picture is brightening south of the border, where U.S. employers churned out 321,000 jobs last month, with upward revisions to the previous two months and firmer wage growth.

“All in all, despite the relatively modest drop in employment for November, Canada’s labour market still appears to be on better footing heading into the end of the year,” noted Nick Exarhos, economist at CIBC World Markets.

By province, employment fell in Ontario and Saskatchewan and rose in Quebec along with Newfoundland and Labrador.

The private sector cut 45,600 positions last month, while the public sector added 22,600. Self-employment grew by 12,300.

Among industries, trade trimmed 41,600 jobs while employment also fell in transportation and professional services. Natural resources added 14,800 positions – despite weaker commodity prices – though that comes after a decline in the prior month of 22,200 jobs.

In the past year, the accommodation and food services sector has seen the biggest employment gains, percentage-wise. Information and culture along with natural resources have tallied the largest declines.

The country’s participation rate stayed at 66 per cent, the lowest in nearly 13 years. And the rate of employment was 61.6 per cent, meaning about six in 10 Canadians hold jobs.

Canada’s economy is showing signs of a “broadening recovery,” the Bank of Canada said in its interest-rate statement this week. Still, “the labour market continues to indicate significant slack in the economy.”

Wage growth in Canada was a “very subdued” 1.5 per cent, year over year, noted Bank of Montreal senior economist Benjamin Reitzes, adding that though involuntary part-time employment fell from a record high, it “remains relatively high.”

Much of the job growth in the past year has been part-time, but that reversed in November. Full-time jobs increased by 5,700 while part-time positions fell 16,300 last month.

The jobs numbers were in line with expectations. Economists had expected no job growth in the month, with the rate climbing a notch to 6.6 per cent.

The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Dec. 05 2014, 8:41 AM EST
Last updated Friday, Dec. 05 2014, 9:55 AM EST