Canada employment climbed for a third straight month in September, largely on part-time job gains consistent with an economy growing at a moderate rate.
The economy added 12,100 jobs last month, Statistics Canada said in Ottawa, bringing to 127,000 new employment this year. The unemployment rate rose to 7.1 percent from 7 percent as more people entered the labor force.
Friday’s report reflects an economy that is still struggling to cope with a commodity-price crash, reflected by a decline in full-time positions and total hours worked. Canada has relied on cheap borrowing costs and a weaker currency to offset the impact of lower oil prices.
The Bank of Canada will “see the longer-term trends being consistent with fairly subdued growth,” said David Tulk, chief Canada macro strategist at Toronto Dominion Bank.
The Canadian dollar pared gains after the jobs data, trading at C$1.2980 per U.S. dollar at 10:27 a.m. Toronto time.
Friday’s report is the last major indicator before the Oct. 19 federal election, in which Prime Minister Stephen Harper will seek to parlay his economic performance into a fourth term in office.
Canada added 74,000 part-time jobs in September. Full-time positions dropped 61,900, the agency said, the largest decline since October 2011. The economy has added 112,000 full-time jobs this year and 15,000 part-time jobs.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected a 10,000 job increase and a jobless rate of 7 percent, according to median forecasts in Bloomberg surveys.
September’s job gains were led by a 32,500 increase for the information, culture and recreation category. The “other services” category that includes laundry workers and religious organizations added another 21,600 jobs and construction rose by 6,800.
Education employment fell by 51,300 in September, Statistics Canada said, adding some of that decline may be related to unusual seasonal patterns. The agency said 30,600 people entered the labor force.
Harper’s campaign has focused on the economy, including what he calls the Group of Seven’s best job creation record since the 2008 financial crisis. Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau, leading Harper in some recent polls, says the economy needs stimulus and Harper’s focus on a balanced budget worsened the downturn.
The Bank of Canada cut interest rates in January and July to 0.5 percent to boost growth. Governor Stephen Poloz has said non-energy companies are now leading a recovery. The next rate decision is scheduled for Oct. 21.