Loonie lifts nearly half a cent as Canadian jobs data impresses traders

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TORONTO – The Canadian dollar gained nearly half a cent on Friday as the latest domestic jobs figures delivered a few positive surprises on the economy.

The loonie ended 0.48 of a cent higher at 91.07 cent cents US, after Statistics Canada said 43,000 net new jobs were added in March.

Most of the new jobs were part-time positions, and the vast majority of the new jobs went to young Canadians, the agency said.

Another soft spot in the report was that almost all the new jobs were in the public sector, while new private sector hiring was limited to 3,900.

The figure pushed the unemployment rate one tenth of a point lower to 6.9 per cent.

“The strong bounce in March employment is encouraging though it follows a 7,000 drop in February and leaves the average increase over the previous four months at a still modest 5,000,” wrote RBC Economics assistant chief economist Paul Ferley in a note.

“Thus today’s report does not alter our view that monetary policy is likely to remain highly accommodative to try and sustain more robust employment growth going forward.”

Meanwhile in the United States, employers added 192,000 jobs in March, but the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 per cent. The March jobs numbers were slightly below February’s total of 197,000.

One of the brightest spots in the U.S. non-farms payroll report was a revision by the Labor Department of its January and February figures — adding 37,000 more jobs to the period than was originally estimated.

However traders reacted to the uncertain outlook it offered for the U.S. economy. Prices for gold, widely considered a safe-haven commodity, increased by US$18.90 to US$1,303.50 an ounce for the June contract, while May copper was relatively unchanged at US$3.02 a pound.

Oil continued to trade above US$100 a barrel with May crude settling 85 cents higher to US$101.14 a barrel.

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