Unemployment rate up slightly in November: Statistics Canada

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Canada's pot legalization helped to significantly boost job numbers in November and push the unemployment rate down 0.2 percentage points to 5.6 percent - the lowest level since 1976, the government statistical agency said on Friday. Most jobs are in the agricultural field and more than half of industry employment is in Ontario.

Overall, the economy has added a total 154,000 jobs through November, all full-time.

The report will provide some relief for Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz, who said on Thursday that economic data since October had been disappointing.

It said the number of people employed in cannabis-related jobs - including bud trimming - in November rose 266 percent to 10,400, against the same period a year earlier.

The country added 94,000 jobs in the month, an unusually strong showing and well above economists' expectations.

While employment actually grew in the province last month, the unemployment rate for Prince George and the province crept upward.

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The employment rate, the percentage of the population over 15 that is employed, was at 64.2 per cent during the month, up from 63 per cent in October as the number of people with jobs in the region rose by 44,500.

The B.C. unemployment rate continues to be the best in the country.

The improvements, however, obscured a key piece of data: weakening wage growth.

Experts have been expecting wage growth to rise thanks to the tightened labour market, but it has dropped every month since its May peak of 3.9%.

The November jobs report showed the goods-producing sector added 26,900 jobs following a notable gain of 14,800 construction positions.

The Bank of Canada is closely monitoring wages before making decisions on interest rates. "The large gain in jobs will keep a January rate hike on the table for now, but we'll need to see similarly positive evidence from other indicators and no major reversal in the next jobs report".

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