Canada’s jobless rate jumps to 8.6 percent

July 11th, 2009 - 12:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, July 11 (IANS) The unemployment rate in Canada, the most robust of all G8 economies during the current global crisis, has jumped to 8.6 percent, a national report here has said.
Releasing the report Friday, Statistics Canada said 47,500 jobs were lost in June in this nation of about 33 million people.

Nearly 1.6 million Canadians are now out of jobs as the nation’s major sectors - manufacturing, natural resources and auto - continue to reel from the impact of the global recession.

But the Canadian economy fared much better in the second quarter of this year than in the first quarter, the report said.

Just 13,000 jobs were lost in the second quarter as compared to 273,000 lost in the first quarter.

The shrinking job market is forcing Canadians to self-employment. Since October, self-employment has grown by 1.5 percent nationwide, the report said.

With more than 85 percent of its international trade with the US, the short-term prospects look bleak for the Canadian economy driven by manufacturing and its natural resources.

Since the economic crisis began last year, the Canadian economy has shrunk by more than three percent.

The national Bank of Canada has lowered interest rates to historic lows and pumped billions of dollars to ease the liquidity crunch.

But the otherwise healthy Canadian banks seem to be in no mood to take any risks.

The Canadian markets, driven mostly by energy, mineral and financial stocks, remain in the doldrums despite a two-month surge from March to May.

The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), the world’s biggest energy market where the composite index had crossed the historic 15,000-mark last year, remains sluggish.

Having sunk as low as 7,700-points, the index recovered nearly 40 percent from March to May. But since then, the index has been hovering between 9,500 and 10,000 points.

The low oil prices have also hit the Canadian dollar or loonie which is known as the commodity currency because its fortunes vary with the global prices of Canada’s rich natural resources.

Currently, the loonie is selling for about 85 cents US.

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