Canada’s economy added 108,000 jobs in October, about 10 times what was expected.
The gains were broad-based, with both goods-producing industries and the service sector adding jobs, according to data released by Statistics Canada on Friday. The manufacturing, construction, accommodation and food services industries led the way, while the number of people working in retail and wholesale trade and natural resources eased.
The hiring surge was more than enough to offset the jobs lost between May and September. Virtually all the net new jobs were full-time and even, almost three quarters of them came in the private sector. That’s the first time that’s happened since March.
Despite the job surge, the jobless rate held steady at 5.2 per cent, “but this was due to many more Canadians looking for work,” TD Bank economist Rishi Sondhi said of the data. “[That’s] a healthy sign for growth.”
Wage gains picked up the pace, too, with the average hourly income hitting $31.94 during the month. That’s up by 5.6 per cent in the past year.
Two-thirds of people making $40 an hour reported getting a raise in the past year. That compares with about half of those making $20 or under.
While wage gains are good news for workers, they are a double-edged sword for the Bank of Canada, which is trying to wrestly inflation into submission. Higher incomes will add to the inflationary pressure on spending, and possible compel the central bank to raise interest rates even more than they already have
“Up until this point, wages hadn’t looked particularly worrisome in Canada,” economist Royce Mendes with Desjardins said. “But the more this measure heats up, the more pressure will be on the Bank of Canada to continue its rate hiking cycle for longer than it previously anticipated.”
Despite wage gains, more and more households are having a hard time keeping their heads above water.
More than a third of households reported “difficulty meeting financial needs” during the month. Two years ago, only one in five said that.