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Economy added 27,700 jobs in May, unemployment rate hit record low at 5.4%

Economists on average had expected the addition of 8,000 jobs for the month

The economy added 27,700 jobs in May, while the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since comparable data become available in 1976, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.4 per cent compared with 5.7 per cent in April as the number of people looking for work fell sharply, it reported.

READ MORE: B.C. housing slump has begun to slow economy, credit union economists say

The better-than-expected increase in the number of jobs follows a record 106,500 jobs that were added in April.

Economists on average had expected the addition of 8,000 jobs for the month and an unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

Year-over-year average hourly wage growth for all employees, a key indicator monitored by the Bank of Canada ahead of its interest-rate decisions, was 2.8 per cent in May, up from 2.5 per cent in April.

The increase in jobs was made up entirely of full-time employment as there was no change in the number of part-time jobs.

The overall gains were driven by an increase of 61,500 in the number of self-employed workers, while the number employees fell by 33,800 including a drop in 13,100 public sector employees and 20,700 private sector employees.

The goods-producing sector of the economy added 4,900 jobs, while the services sector added 22,800.

The health care and social assistance industry added 20,400 jobs in the month, while professional, scientific and technical services increased by 17,200.

Business, building and support services lost 19,400 jobs and employment in accommodation and food services fell 12,000.

Regionally, Ontario added 20,900 jobs in May, while B.C. saw the number of jobs rise by 16,800. Newfoundland and Labrador lost 2,700 jobs for the month.

Compared with May 2018, the Canadian economy added 453,100 jobs including 299,000 full-time positions and 154,100 part-time jobs.

By province:

— Newfoundland and Labrador 12.4 per cent (11.7)

— Prince Edward Island 9.0 (8.6)

— Nova Scotia 6.5 (6.9)

— New Brunswick 7.2 (8.0)

— Quebec 5.0 (4.9)

— Ontario 5.2 (6.0)

— Manitoba 5.0 (5.2)

— Saskatchewan 5.2 (5.4)

— Alberta 6.7 (6.7)

— British Columbia 4.3 (4.6)

Craig Wong, The Canadian Press

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