OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s economy unexpectedly lost a net 30,600 jobs in July as the public sector contracted, while the unemployment rate stayed at a record low 4.9%, Statistics Canada data indicated on Friday.
Analysts polled by Reuters had expected an increase of 20,000 positions and for the jobless rate to edge up to 5.0%.
July marked the second month in a row of relatively moderate losses. Between May 2021 and May 2022, the economy added a hefty 1.06 million jobs as the recovery from COVID-19 took hold.
The average hourly wages of permanent employees – a figure the Bank of Canada watches closely – rose by 5.4% from July 2021, down from the 5.6% year-on-year increase seen in June but sharply higher than the 2.4% seen at the start of the year.
The central bank last month surprised markets by raising its main interest rate by 100 basis points in a bid to crush inflation, and said more hikes would be needed.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Jan Harvey)