Ottawa unemployment rate up to 6.9%

OBJ Staff
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The city's unemployment rate hit 6.9 per cent in June, up a tenth of a percentage point from the month before, according to Statistics Canada, while the rate in Gatineau fell a tenth of a point to 6.4 per cent.

(Stock image)

And with Ottawa generating 7,600 new jobs and Gatineau adding 4,400, the rise in the unemployment rate in both cities means more residents are going through the help wanted ads than at this time last year.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was also up 0.1 percentage point to 7.1 per cent, the highest level in six months, thanks to 33,900 jobs lost in Ontario and fewer jobs for younger Canadians.

Ottawa-Gatineau followed that trend, with 23,100 fewer jobs for workers between the ages of 25 and 44 in June.

The news was significantly better for older workers aged 45-65. There were 30,300 more jobs for them.

Statistics Canada says the sector hit hardest in Ottawa was business, finance and administrative, with 15,600 fewer jobs.

The news wasn’t much better in Gatineau, which had 2,800 fewer jobs in that sector, but the trades, transport and equipment operator sector took a harder hit on the Quebec side of the river, dropping 3,100 jobs.

In Ottawa, there were 4,700 more jobs in natural and applied sciences. In Gatineau, the health sector added 6,800 jobs.

Nationally, economists had expected another strong month of job growth following May's 25,800 gain, and were in fact predicting Ontario would have a good month due to activity from the election campaign.

But June merely served to underline what has become a year-long slump in job creation for the country, with the possible exception of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Over the past 12 months, the economy has added a mere 72,000 new jobs – or 0.4 per cent of the labour force – split evenly between part-time and full-time workers.

The prospects for the immediate future don't look encouraging. Earlier this week, the Bank of Canada's survey of business confidence found that Canadian firms' hiring intentions had eased somewhat from what they were three months ago.

That is in contrast to what is occurring in the United States, where monthly gains of 200,000 and more have become commonplace.

Still, Statistics Canada saw a positive in comparing the two countries, noting that if Canada's unemployment rate were adjusted according to how unemployment is calculated in the United States, the neighbouring nations would have identical jobless rates of 6.1 per cent.

That will be of little solace to Canadians looking for work, however. June saw unemployment overall rise by close to 25,000 as more Canadians went looking for work and found none.

The number would be worse if not for individuals creating their own jobs. The agency said self-employment rose by 23,400 in June, which means that employers shed 32,800 workers overall.

If there was a silver lining in the dour report, it was that full-time employment rose by 33,500, partly making up for the loss of 43,000 part-time jobs.

In June, the major setback was among youth workers, who gave back almost all the job gains of May with a drop of about 44,000.

Most of the job losses in the month came in the business, building and other support services category, as well as agriculture and manufacturing. However, construction work increased by 32,000, bringing employment in the industry back to last year's levels.

Regionally, Alberta was the only province to show notable job growth as full-time employment rose by 19,500.

- with files from the Canadian Press


Organizations: Bank of Canada, Statistics Canada

Geographic location: Ontario, Ottawa, Alberta United States Saskatchewan Canada

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