Ottawa-Gatineau unemployment rate sinks to 4.4%

By Brian Konrad

By Brian Konrad

Unemployment increased month-over-month by 0.3 per cent to six per cent, but dropped from the 8.6 per cent recorded in April 2017.

That helped to push the region's unemployment down to 4.4 per cent, its lowest level in well over a decade.

In data released by Statistics Canada, 600 full-time jobs and 100 part-time jobs were added from March.

The Canadian economy unexpectedly shed jobs in April on the back of a drop in part-time positions, bolstering bets that the Bank of Canada will hold interest rates steady when its policymakers meet later this month.

"It is fair to say that they would view 3 per cent [wage growth] as being a little bit more "normal" and it would probably give them more comfort in raising rates", said Douglas Porter, chief economist with Bank of Montreal. One area, however, that still has room for improvement is wage growth, he said.

The most recent reading of wage common was 2.3 per cent for the fourth quarter of previous year.

Employment also increased both year-over-year and month-to-month by hitting 73.1 per cent.

The goods-producing sector shed 15,900 positions, mostly in construction. Services sectors, meanwhile, created 14,800 jobs following big increases in professional, scientific and technical services, as well as in accommodation and food services. While there were 1,800 fewer jobs, more significant was the increase in the size of the labour force, by 7,600.

Unlike the March increase, which saw employment decline, there was an increase of 400 jobs in April.

Compared with 12 months earlier, employment was up 1.5% following the creation of 278,300 jobs, which was fuelled by 378,300 new full-time positions.

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