Canada's unemployment rate inched down to 6.9 percent in May, from 7.1 percent in April, Statistics Canada said Friday.
The jobless rate is now at its lowest rate since July 2015, after Canada's economy added better-than-expected 14,000 jobs in May. Economists had expected a slight gain of fewer than 1,000 jobs for the month.
Across the country, there were more jobs in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island, while they disappeared in Alberta and Nova Scotia, Statistics Canada said in a report.
Alberta lost more than 24,000 jobs during the month. These declines coincided with the wildfires in northern Alberta, which affected business operations in a number of industries, including oil and gas extraction.
"While StatsCan doesn't explicitly chalk it up to the impact of the wildfire (they in fact claim to have substituted respondents from surrounding areas into the sample), one has to figure that it caused a significant chunk of these reported job losses in May," Bank of Montreal economist Robert Kavcic said.
"The good news is that Ontario and Quebec each posted strong 21,600 job gains in May, more than offsetting the weakness in Alberta," he said.
Everywhere else, the employment level stayed about the same.
Adjusted to U.S. concepts, the jobless rate in Canada was 5.9 percent in May versus 4.7 percent in the United States, the report said. Compared with May 2015, the unemployment rate was unchanged in Canada, while it decreased 0.8 percentage points in the United States.
On Friday, U.S. vehicle manufacturer General Motors announced a plan to hire up to 1,000 engineers in Canada at GM's Canadian Technical Center in Oshawa, Ontario. It's the biggest auto jobs deal in Canada in a decade