Wages Post Largest Increase In Six Years

By Brian Konrad

By Brian Konrad

The unemployment rate stayed at its record low of 5.8 per cent for a third-straight month.

Average hourly wages were up 3.3 percent in April from a year ago, the strongest annual rate since January.

But Calgary still has a long way to go to match Edmonton's 6.6 per cent or Toronto's 5.9 per cent.

The decline of 1,100 jobs reported by Statistics Canada on Friday was well short of economists' forecasts for an increase of 17,400. One area, however, that still has room for improvement is wage growth, he said.

While most economists expect the central bank to hold fire on May 30, markets are putting almost 40 percent odds on an increase this month, making for a sizable minority view. It registered a year-over-year increase of 3.3 per cent in March and 3.1 per cent the month before. The next scheduled rate announcement is May 30.

The most recent reading of wage common was 2.3 per cent for the fourth quarter of a year ago.

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In a labour force of 41,200, there were 38,600 employed and 2,600 unemployed, according to the survey released May 11. It matched the reading's lowest mark since the agency started measuring the indicator in 1976.

The agency says 28,800 full-time positions were created, but 30,000 part-time jobs were shed in the workforce.

The goods-producing sector shed 15,900 positions, mostly in construction.

The declines were tempered by a 21,300 increase in jobs in professional and scientific services, while the accommodation and food sector added 16,900 jobs. While there were 1,800 fewer jobs, more significant was the increase in the size of the labour force, by 7,600.

Compared with 12 months earlier, employment was up 1.5% following the creation of 278,300 jobs, which was fuelled by 378,300 new full-time positions.

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