by Andy Blatchford
OTTAWA - Canada's overall labour market was stuck in neutral last month as gains in the services sector were offset by declines in factory and construction work, Statistics Canada said Friday.
Overall, the data indicated the country lost 700 jobs last month - a change so slight it was statistically insignificant.
But the national unemployment rate fell to 6.8 per cent in June, down from 6.9 per cent the previous month.
The decline was mostly because fewer people were looking for a job, with the labour force participation rate falling to 65.5 per cent from 65.7 per cent.
Service sector jobs continued to rise last month, gaining 45,500 positions, with the biggest increases registered in accommodation and food services as well as information, culture and recreation.
Compared to 12 months earlier, the June labour force survey found that Canada had added 170,600 services jobs, an increase of 1.2 per cent.
In contrast, the country's goods-producing industries shed 46,200 jobs in June, as construction and manufacturing industries saw the largest declines. Over the previous year, 63,000 factory jobs were lost overall - a drop of 1.6 per cent.
Employment in the category of self-employed work grew by 37,700 last month, while the number of employee positions dropped 38,400 positions, the survey found.
The data also showed that the labour market shed 40,100 full-time jobs and gained 39,400 less-desirable part-time positions. However, the agency considered both these numbers to be statistically insignificant.
British Columbia was the only province to add a significant number of jobs last month with 16,000 new positions, while the labour markets in other regions experienced decreases or remained largely unchanged.
A consensus of economists had predicted the country to add 5,000 jobs and for the unemployment rate to move up to seven per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.
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The Canadian Press