Canada reported its best two-month jobs gain in three decades with news that the economy churned out 58,200 new jobs in April, but more people looking for work pushed the unemployment rate to 7.3 percent, Statistics Canada said Friday.
The April jobs numbers follow a jump of 82,000 in March, making the 140,500 total the best two-month employment performance the country has seen since 1981, said the reporting agency.
Still, the unemployment rate edged up to 7.3 percent in April from 7.2 percent in March because more people were entering the labor market.
Following March's gains, analysts had expected only modest movement in employment last month but April far exceeded the 10,000 jobs economists had forecast.
April's gains brought the number of jobs created over the past year to 214,000, all in the full-time work category.
"Wow. Where did this come from?" said Bank of Montreal economist Doug Porter. "It's almost like Canada is a bit of an island in terms of good economic data recently."
Porter pointed out there has been something of a reversal in the jobs picture between Canada and the United States in the last two months, with the labor market strengthening north of the border but softening in the U.S.
If the trend in growing job numbers continues, analysts believe Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney may begin raising interest rates after signaling his intent to do so last month.
But some analysts still believe Carney will remain on the sidelines throughout 2012, given the instability of the global economy, particularly in Europe. There is also concern the economy may not be able to produce such sizable gains in the near future.
"With this report, the lull of last winter has been all recovered and employment is right back to its trend. Thus, further improvements of this size are highly unlikely," said Jimmy Jean, economic strategist with Desjardins Economic Studies.