Canada's Unemployment Rate Rises to 8.1%

Canada's economy created 35,800 new jobs in August, yet the unemployment rate remains over eight per cent.

The jobless rate rose to 8.1 per cent last month from 8.0 per cent in July -- the first time the rate has been above eight per cent since May. And it's all due to an increase in the number of people looking for jobs.

The job gains in August were slightly better than the 30,000 new positions that economists had been expecting, but most had also been expecting the jobless rate to hold steady at 8.0 per cent.

Statistics Canada noted that much of the job gains last month were due to 65,000 contract teachers and educational workers who were re-hired in August, after reporting they were out-of-work in July. Once that seasonal variation in the education sector is discounted, it appears the economy actually shed jobs last month.

Once the job gains for July and August are averaged out, the labour market had an average pick-up of 13,000 jobs during those summer months -- much lower than the 51,000 average monthly increase seen during the first six months of the year.

The agency notes there were increases in professional, scientific and technical services and in natural resources in August.

Average hourly wages rose 2.3 per cent in August from a year ago. That's up from an annual increase of 2.2 percent in July.

9/13/2010 1:23:29 PM