Canada Jobless Rate Hits 11-Year High

Canada’s economy cut jobs for the sixth time in seven months in May and recorded the highest unemployment rate in 11 years as factories continued to fire workers amid the first recession since 1992.

A net 41,800 people lost their job during the month and the unemployment rate climbed more than expected to 8.4 percent, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa.

The world’s eighth-largest economy is shrinking in the face of a global slump that has sapped orders for Canada’s lumber, automobiles and metals. Factories in the manufacturing hub of Ontario now employ the lowest number of workers since the agency’s current survey method began in 1976. The province also saw its jobless rate soar to a 15-year high of 9.4 percent.

Canada’s economy contracted at a 5.4 percent annual rate in the first quarter, the fastest pace since 1991, as the country’s businesses scaled back spending. The recession led the Bank of Canada to keep its benchmark lending rate at a record 0.25 percent yesterday, and renew a commitment to keep it there until June 2010.

About 2.1 percent of the country’s workers -- a total of 362,500 -- have lost their jobs since October, Statistics Canada said.

Full-time employment fell by 58,700 positions in May, Statistics Canada said. Part-time jobs rose by 17,000 positions.

Manufacturers fired 58,400 workers in May, mostly in Ontario, and have cut 9.4 percent of their workforce since October. The transportation and warehousing industry lost 15,700 jobs in May, the agency said.

Construction firms cut 4,100 workers in May, while natural resources companies fired 3,200 workers. Services offset some of May’s decline among goods producers, with public administration adding 19,000 workers and education services hiring 10,400.

Average hourly wages grew 3.4 percent from a year earlier, Statistics Canada said, the slowest pace since May 2007 and down from the 4.3 percent gain seen in April.

Canada Jobless Rate Hits 11-Year High, Bloomberg
6/5/2009 8:50:08 AM