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Canada unexpectedly added 90,000 jobs in April, though unemployment stayed flat at 6.1%

Canada added 90,000 jobs in April 2024, a higher number than many economists predicted. (Jaison Empson/CBC - image credit)
Canada added 90,000 jobs in April 2024, a higher number than many economists predicted. (Jaison Empson/CBC - image credit)

The Canadian economy gained 90,000 jobs in April, much higher than the average of 20,000 jobs many economists were predicting for the latest Labour Force Survey numbers from Statistics Canada.

The federal agency pinned the increases in employment on part-time work, with more than 50,000 more of those types of positions. There were more jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services industries.

As well, employment for those aged 15 to 24 went up by 40,000 in April, the first monthly increase for that demographic since December 2022.

However, the unemployment rate was unchanged from the month before, staying at 6.1 per cent. This is higher than a year ago.


"Within these numbers is strong employment growth but also still strong population growth," CIBC senior economist Andrew Grantham told CBC News, explaining why the unemployment rate was stable despite higher job growth.

More people are also actively employed or looking for work in Canada, with April's 0.1 per cent increase the first since June 2023.

Statistics Canada said private sector employment went up in April after four months of little change. Grantham noted that while employment growth over the past year has been at least partly driven by the public sector, April's numbers show an encouraging move.

"This time around we did see quite a significant increase in private sector hiring, which was good news from an economic point of view," said the economist.

The employment rate, or the percentage of the population that is employed, was also steady at 61.4 per cent, which StatsCan pointed out comes after six consecutive months of drops. That rate was also nearly one per cent lower in April 2024 than the year before, as population growth in Canada was higher than employment growth.

Wage growth down compared to March

These numbers come after a loss of 2,200 jobs in March, with that month's unemployment rate showing the largest increase since summer 2022.

Grantham said for the majority of people, this data is "good news" because the country is adding jobs, but measures that contribute to inflation, such as wage growth, are starting to come down.

Average hourly wages went up to $34.95, a 4.7 per cent increase compared to April 2023. However, that is a lower increase than March, which saw wages jump 5.1 per cent.

The Bank of Canada will be taking this report into account as it determines whether it will change interest rates in a decision next month. Grantham said the central bank could still cut rates even with the job growth being stronger than expected.

Economists widely expect the bank to lower its trend-setting policy rate sometime this summer, though April's consumer price index data measuring inflation will heavily influence that decision.