Jun 11, 2019 - Economy

Canada's deceptively low unemployment rate

Data: Statistics Canada; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Statistics Canada; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Canadian economy added 27,700 jobs in May, bringing the year-over-year job gains to 453,100, and pushing the unemployment rate to 5.4%, the lowest level since 1976.

But, but, but: Canada's economy grew at an annualized pace of just 0.4% in the first quarter, following 0.3% growth in the fourth quarter of 2018, giving the country its weakest back-to-back quarters of growth since 2015.

  • Canada's household savings rate fell to 1.1% in the first quarter. That's 5.6% below the U.S. savings rate, the widest the disparity has been since the 1970s.
  • Canada's ratio of debt to income reached 176% in the fourth quarter, among the highest in the developed world, and 24 percentage points higher than the U.S. rate.

On the bright side: The Bank of Canada forecasts a rebound in the second half of the year with Canada’s GDP expected to grow by 1.2% this year, wages are rising and consumers are growing less pessimistic about the economy.

Go deeper: 2018's escalating exodus of U.S. tech workers to Canada

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