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Employment Rebounds and Exports Fall

Oct 05, 2018

The Conference Board of Canada’s Principal Economist Alicia Macdonald offers the following insights on today's Labour Force Survey and merchandise trade data:


“After posting a large decline in August, employment bounced back in September. Imports and exports are set to fall in the third quarter, however this is in line with our recent forecast and we continue to expect that the Bank of Canada will raise its policy rate in October.”
—Alicia Macdonald, Principal Economist, The Conference Board of Canada.


  • After falling by 51,600 positions in August, employment rebounded in September with 63,300 jobs created last month.
  • The rebound this month was concentrated in part-time employment which increased 80,200 after a 92,000 drop in August. The number of full-time jobs fell by 16,900. This means the year-over-year growth in full-time employment is now just 1.5 per cent, compared to growth of 2.8 per cent at the beginning of the year.
  • For the first time in nearly two years, Canada posted a merchandise trade surplus. But it wasn’t a booming export sector that pushed us into a surplus. Exports declined in August but were offset by an even larger decline in imports.
  • Export volumes were down on the month but are still posting an impressive year-over-year gain of 5.1 per cent. At 7.3 per cent growth, energy products continue to drive overall export performance, but non-energy exports have been doing much better over the past few months.
  • Real non-energy exports posted negative year-over-year growth during four out of five months at the beginning of the year. However, growth turned positive in June and according to the latest data is growing by 4.3 per cent.
  • The pickup in third quarter employment and declining merchandise trade volumes is consistent with the forecast in our latest Canadian Outlook. With indicators to date suggesting growth will be roughly in line with our forecast, the Bank of Canada is expected to continue to gradually raise interest rates with a rate hike expected in October.

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