Area jobless rate inches up

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New Brunswick unemployment went down to 8.4 per cent in May from 8.7 per cent in April.

Guelph continues to enjoy the lowest unemployment in the country at 3.9%, while in Calgary it was 9.3%, unchanged from the month before.

In Ontario, the jobless rate was up to 6.5% from 5.8% in April, while B.C.'s numbers came in at 5.6%, up one-tenth of a percentage point.

Canada's unemployment rate increased to 6.6 per cent in May, in line with economist expectations, from 6.5 per cent in April.

Statistics Canada says these figures are based on small statistical samples and may fluctuate widely.

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Analysts applauded the above-expectations headline figures Friday, as well as most of the finer details in the report.

"There's a lot to like here", said TD senior economist Brian DePratto, who noted it added yet another good set of data to a growing stack of positive economic numbers in recent months.

A closer look at the data also shows healthy gains in some of the survey's more-desirable categories - with 59,400 new jobs created in the private sector and 68,500 new paid employee positions.

Canadians found work in a number of sectors, including manufacturing, which added 25,300 jobs, and the professional and scientific services industry, which hired 25,900 people.

The province's surge in full-time work over the last 12 months leads the Atlantic Canadian numbers.

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"All told, an extremely strong employment report for Canada, coming on the heels of last week's strong GDP figures", said CIBC's Nick Exarhos in a note after the release.

They also said the data release likely nudged the Bank of Canada a little closer to hiking its benchmark interest rate of 0.5 per cent.

The jobs that brought down the unemployment rate from 8.7 per cent in April were all full-time, the agency said.

Still, this month, all provinces except Newfoundland and Labrador reported gains in job growth.

Hours worked rose modestly 0.7 percent year-on-year, while the hourly wage rate rose 1 percent year-on-year, a rebound from the record slow rate recorded in the prior month.

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Overall, industries in Canada operated at 83.3% of their production capacity in the first quarter, a 1.5-percentage-point increase from a revised 81.8% level in the previous three-month period, Statistics Canada said Friday. The number of hours worked rose 0.7 per cent, the report said.

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