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The capital region’s unemployment rate tumbled to 4.2 per cent in October from 4.4 per cent in September as employers on both sides of the river continued hiring at an aggressive pace.
The local economy overall added 9,700 net new jobs in October for a total just shy of 800,000, while the size of the labour force, which includes people looking for work, increased by a relatively modest 8,900 to nearly 835,000, according to a Statistics Canada report published Friday. These numbers were adjusted for seasonal influences.
While the jobless rate has finally dipped below where it was just before the 2008-09 economic recession hit, other measures indicate the economy still hasn’t quite fully recovered.
For instance, the participation rate, which compares the number of people employed and looking for work to the working age population, edged up to 70.9 per cent in October from 70.3 per cent in September.
That’s still some distance from the 73.3 per cent mark reached in 2008, when the economy verged on vibrant.
Nearly 90 per cent of last month’s job surge took place on the Ottawa side of the river, where 8,500 jobs were created, compared to 1,200 in Gatineau. (Ottawa accounts for 76 per cent of the region’s population).
As a result, Ottawa’s jobless rate in October dropped to 4.2 per cent from 4.4 per cent. In Gatineau the unemployment rate increased slightly to 4.5 per cent as labour force growth outpaced hiring.
Construction led the way in hiring, adding 4,400 jobs in October, while employment in education and hotels & food services was up 2,500 and 2,200 respectively. These numbers are unadjusted for seasonality.
One of the industry sectors that slipped in October was professional services, where employment contracted by 2,000. This likely reflected the impact of the federal election, when government departments often trim contracting activity.
Employment in the federal government was up a modest one per cent in October to 155,100 — representing 19.4 per cent of the region’s total jobs.
Nationally, the unemployment rate was static at 5.5 per cent as the economy shed 1,800 jobs in October.
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