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Canada’s economy added a flat 27,000 jobs in May while unemployment ticked up to 6.2%

The Canadian economy added a flat 27,000 jobs in May, while unemployment inched up slightly to 6.2 per cent, Statistics Canada said Friday.

More people working part-time involuntarily because they can't find full-time jobs

A window washer is shown suspended from a building.

The Canadian economy added a flat 27,000 jobs in May, while unemployment inched up slightly to 6.2 per cent, Statistics Canada said Friday.

Economists were expecting an average of 30,000 jobs to be added. Part-time employment was up by 62,000 positions and full-time employment declined, with a loss of 36,000 jobs.

BMO chief economist Douglas Porter wrote that the numbers were "close to consensus and heading back toward normal after a fiery April." An unexpected 90,000 jobs were added that month.

Statistics Canada noted that more people were working part-time hours in full-time jobs in May, which it said could be a sign of poor economic conditions or underemployment.

The rate of people who were working part-time involuntarily because they couldn't find full-time jobs or because of poor economic conditions was up 18.2 per cent in May, compared to 15.4 per cent a year earlier.

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The youth unemployment rate — which has been on a downward trend for a while — was virtually unchanged at 55.6 per cent, the data agency said.

While employment for young women between the ages of 15 and 24 edged up by 3.7 per cent in May, employment declined by 1.6 per cent for young men in the same demographic.

Wages up 5.1 per cent from same time last year

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Average hourly wages increased 5.1 per cent year-over-year in May, after 4.7 per cent growth in April.

While that could be eyebrow-raising for the Bank of Canada, which has been watching wage growth carefully for signs that it could reignite inflation, this jobs report probably won't move the needle, Porter wrote.

"The Bank will note the rising slack in the job market — the steady climb in the jobless rate, and the rise in the involuntary part-time rate to 18.2 [per cent] — and conclude that it's a matter of time before wage growth relents," Porter wrote.

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RBC assistant chief economist Nathan Janzen wrote that the central bank won't regret cutting interest rates this week.

"With interest rates still at 'restrictive' levels, there is room to cut further without stoking a resurgence" in inflation, he wrote.

Employment edged up in Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, while Alberta, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island saw declines. The rest of the provinces were more or less unchanged.

Sectors like health care and social assistance; finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing; business, building and other support services; and accommodation and food services added jobs.

Meanwhile, employment declined in construction, transportation and warehousing, and utilities.

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