The Canadian economy unexpectedly lost 30,400 jobs in July, marking the third month in a row of disappointing signs on the labour market. Most economists had been expecting modest growth over the summer. These new losses edge the overall unemployment rate up to 7.3% according to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey for July 2012.

Still, there is some good news in the latest job numbers.  Almost all of the jobs lost were part-time positions, while the number of people working full-time actually increased last month. Despite the recent slowdown in job creation, full-time employment in Canada has increased by nearly 140,000 new jobs over this time last year.

Employment numbers by industry sector

Employment in wholesale and retail trade fell by 30,000 in July bringing it to a total of 88,000 jobs lost over the past year.

The professional, scientific and technical services sector also took a hit last month, with 22,000 fewer jobs. Employment in public administration also fell in July, losing 17,000 positions.

While there were 8,900 fewer people working in natural resources in July, that industry still has the highest year-over-year growth rate of all sectors at 11.4%.

On the plus side, employment was up by by 24,000 in information, culture and recreation, and the finance, insurance, real estate and leasing sectors added 19,000 jobs in July.

Employment in manufacturing was little changed in July, following solid gains made earlier this year.


Quebec was the hardest hit by July’s job losses with 29,000 fewer positions. Employment was down in British Columbia by 15,000 jobs.  Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador also shed just over 3,000 jobs each. Employment in Ontario held steady last month. Alberta continues to have the lowest unemployment rate of all the provinces.


Peter Harris

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