Canada Has Biggest Job Increase in at Least 30 Years

Canada recorded its biggest one-month employment gain in at least 30 years as voters get ready for the Oct. 14 election, adding more than 10 times as many jobs as expected in September.

Employers added 106,900 workers, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa, following an August gain of 15,200 jobs. The unemployment rate remained at 6.1 percent as people entered the labor force.

The report may help Conservative Party Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has dropped to a virtual dead heat with Liberal opposition leader Stephane Dion in some polls after leading for most of a campaign. Harper's effort to depict his party as the best steward of the economy initially gave him double-digit leads in polls, before the financial crisis worsened and hurt his popularity.

A net 40,000 jobs were added in the health-care and social- assistance industry in September, reversing drops in the previous three months. Some 19,800 jobs were created in business services, such as maintenance, and 16,300 positions in transportation and warehousing.

Manufacturers added 19,700 workers, or one percent of their workforce, erasing their loss for the year. Payrolls are down by 42,600 from a year earlier.

Canada added a net 96,600 part-time jobs and 10,300 full- time jobs, the statistics agency said. The agency says it started using the current methodology in 1976, making it impossible to compare September's gain to earlier records.

Average hourly wages rose 4.6 percent in September from a year earlier, trailing an 11-year high of 4.9 percent reached in February. Pay raises are still outpacing inflation, with the consumer price index advancing 3.5 percent in August from a year earlier, the agency said.

Employers have added 276,800 workers since September 2007, a 1.6 percent increase, Statistics Canada said.

The Bank of Canada said the economy will grow 1 percent this year, the slowest since 1992, hobbled by an export slump. The central bank, which unexpectedly cut its benchmark lending rate by half a percentage point to 2.5 percent on Oct. 8, has a scheduled rate decision on Oct. 21 and will revise its economic outlook on Oct. 23.

Canada Has Biggest Job Increase in at Least 30 Years,
10/10/2008 5:49:34 AM