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Canada unexpectedly loses jobs in April

Canadian employment declined for the second time in three months in April, a surprise drop led by full-time work and restaurant and hotel staff.

Employment fell by 28,900 in April, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. The unemployment rate remained at 6.9 percent as 25,600 people also left the labor force, reducing the participation rate to the lowest since November 2001. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News projected a 13,500 job increase and a jobless rate unchanged at 6.9 percent, according to the median forecasts.

Canadian unemployment will remain stuck at about 7 percent this year, above the 6.1 percent recorded in 2008 before the last recession, economists surveyed by Bloomberg predict. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz has said output growth is being hobbled by weak business investment and exports and that economic slack will persist for about two years.

“There has been little overall employment growth in Canada since August 2013,” Statistics Canada said in its report.

Full-time employment fell by 30,900 in April, and part-time positions rose by 2,000, Statistics Canada said. Workers designated as employees declined by 46,000 while the self- employed category increased by 17,200, the report showed.

Private companies cut 28,600 workers in April and public- sector employment declined by 17,400.

Unilever said yesterday it will close a Bramalea, Ontario, factory that made dried soup and sauce mixes and employed about 280 people. Production is being moved to Independence, Missouri, to bring production closer to U.S. customers that buy the majority of those products, the company said.

Accommodation and food service jobs led the decline by industry, falling by 32,200.

The labour force participation rate fell to 66.1 percent in April from 66.2 percent in March, a measure that has fallen from a peak of 67.8 percent in May 2008 before the last recession.

Average hourly wages of permanent employees rose 1.6 percent in April from a year earlier, slowing from the 2.4 percent pace the prior month.

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