Loonie pulls back on jobs figures that came in short of expectations

TORONTO – The Canadian dollar pulled back Friday as the latest jobs figures offered little to be enthused about and commodity prices weakened.

The loonie moved down 0.44 of a cent to end at 87.47 cents US.

Statistics Canada said the Canadian economy shed 10,700 net jobs last month which nudged the unemployment rate up slightly to 6.6 per cent.

However, the overall employment change was so narrow it fell within the study’s margin of error, making it statistically insignificant.

“All in all, despite the relatively modest drop in employment for November, (the) labour market still appears to be on better footing heading into the end of the year,” said CIBC World Markets economist Nick Exarhos in a note.

In commodities, the crude oil contract for January fell 97 cents to US$65.84 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, which is its lowest level since May 2009.

February gold bullion contract moved down $17.30 to US$1,190.40 an ounce, and the March copper contract dipped about a penny to US$2.90 a pound.

South of the border, jobs figures provided a more optimistic tone with U.S. employers adding 321,000 jobs in November. The increase is the sharpest rise in nearly three years and an encouraging sign for the U.S. economy.

The U.S. Labor Department also said 44,000 more jobs were added in September and October combined than the government had previously estimated. Job gains have averaged 241,000 a month this year, putting 2014 on track to be the strongest year for hiring since 1999.

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