A construction worker shingles the roof of a new home in a development in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada sees gains in part-time, youth employment as wage growth slows

Economy adds 81,100 positions in August

Canada’s economy posted a job surge last month of 81,100 net new positions, the bulk of which were part-time, in the services sector and picked up by young people.

Statistics Canada said in a report Friday that even with the increase the August unemployment rate stayed at 5.7 per cent as more people looked for work. The jobless rate remained near its four-decade low.

The overall monthly gain — the biggest since Canada added 106,500 jobs in April — came as wage growth decelerated.

Average hourly wage growth, year-over-year, for all employees was 3.7 per cent last month, down from a 4.5 per cent pace in July that was the strongest monthly reading since January 2009.

Economists had expected an addition of 15,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent, according to the financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Compared with a year earlier, the numbers show Canada added 471,300 jobs — the majority of which were full time — for an increase of 2.5 per cent. The number of hours worked, year-over-year, were up 1.2 per cent.

The new jobs in August included a boost of 94,300 jobs in the private sector and a rush of 73,300 new positions in services industries, the agency said in its latest labour force survey. Job creation in services was concentrated in areas such as finance, insurance, real estate, retail and education.

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The report says 57,200 of the new jobs were part time and 42,000 of the positions were held by young workers aged 15 to 24 years old, almost all of whom were women. The number of summer students, who planned to return to school after working between May and August, rose five per cent compared to 2018.

By province, the biggest employment increases were in Ontario and Quebec, while Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick saw smaller gains.

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

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