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Canada added 64,000 jobs in September, led by Quebec and B.C.

Canada’s economy added 64,000 new workers as a surge in hiring in Quebec and B.C. was enough to offset a loss of 38,000 jobs in Alberta.

Statistics Canada reported Friday that despite the new jobs, the jobless rate held steady at 5.5 per cent as more people join the work force, too.

Canada’s adult population increased by just over 82,000 people during the month, of which almost 72,000 are considered to be in the labour force — meaning they are of working age, and actively looking for employment.

The job gain was about twice as many as economists were expecting for the month, but most of them — 48,000 — were of the part-time variety.

The gains were also concentrated in one sector, education, which added 66,000 jobs in the month where schools are back in session.

Economist Royce Mendes with Desjardins says that number should be taken with a grain of salt as it “offset an unusual decline [of 44,000 eduction workers] in August, which was tied to the seasonal adjustment process used by Statistics Canada.”

Compared to where things stood in May when the previous school year wound down, the education sector currently has 26,000 more workers than it did then.

September’s hiring surge brings the two-month total to more than 100,000 workers, but Mendes says that headline figure belies some weakness beneath the surface. Despite having more workers, the total number of hours worked was flat during the month which “takes some shine off of the headline,” Mendes said.

“While taken together the past two months have clearly shown significant strength in hiring, the September reading is weaker than the headline suggests.”

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