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How y’all doing, forex friends? Before you get all worked up by the U.S. NFP report due on Friday at 1:30 PM GMT, you should know that Canada will be printing its labour market numbers around the same time.

Here’s what you need to know about the previous release and what you should watch out for this time around!

What happened last time?

  • Net employment change: +79.5K vs. +10.0K expected, +35.3K previous
  • Jobless rate: 5.9% vs. 6.2% expected, 6.3% previous
  • Labour force participation rate: steady at 65.7% as expected
  • Average hourly wage rate y/y: +2.7% vs. +2.4% previous

November was a good month for Canada’s labour market, as headline numbers surpassed their previous readings.

For starters, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.9% when analysts had only expected a dip from 6.3% to 6.2%. That’s the lowest rate since February 2008, yo! And since labour force participation rate held steady at 65.70%, this means that job growth kept in pace with any increase in working-age population growth.

What got Loonie traders excited was the 79,500 net increase in jobs provided, which is not only bigger than the expected 10,000-uptick but also marked the fastest rise in employment since April 2012.

Apparently, increases in manufacturing and trade-related employment provided 49,900 part-time jobs and a net of 29,600 full-time work for Canada’s laborers. All these contributed to a net of 390,000 (+2.1%) jobs provided from a year ago in November.

Last but not the least is the average hourly wages, which registered a 2.7% gain from a year earlier in November and marked its best reading since April 2016. Wowza!

Canadian Dollar 1-Hour Forex Chart
Canadian Dollar 1-Hour Forex Chart

The jobs numbers alone would have boosted the Loonie in early December. But as Pip Diddy pointed out in his weekly recap, Canada’s GDP – which was printed at the same time as the employment numbers – also showed positive results and convinced speculators that the BOC would be less cautious in its statement due the following week.

The Canadian dollar, which was dragged lower by bearish oil-related reports, regained most of its weekly losses after the jobs report was released.

What’s expected this time?

  • Net employment change: 6.0% vs. 5.9% previous
  • Jobless rate: -2.5K vs. +79.5K previous
  • Labour force participation rate: steady at 65.7% expected

For this Friday’s jobs report, the general consensus is that Canada’s jobless rate will pop higher from 5.9% to 6.0%. Analysts also believe that we’ll see a net DECREASE of 2,500 jobs for the month even as participation rate is not expected to budge from 65.7%.

We normally look at leading indicators such as the Markit or IVEY PMI reports for clues on how legit analysts’ expectations are, but we won’t see the IVEY PMI until AFTER the jobs data.

According to Markit’s PMI report printed yesterday, Canada’s manufacturing PMI hit a three-month high as business conditions improved to its fastest pace since September and new orders were boosted by both domestic and global demand. The report also noted that:

“A solid upturn in production schedules resulted in additional staff recruitment across the manufacturing sector, which extended the current period of jobs growth to 15 consecutive months.”

So it looks like the manufacturing sector will contribute jobs in December. What do historicals say?

As you can see, there’s no clear pattern in predicting analysts’ guesstimates for December. That is, the odds of December’s figures overshooting the -2.5K consensus is just about the same as the odds of a disappointment.

Even seasonality doesn’t paint a clearer picture. While December’s numbers have been stronger in 6 out of the last 10 November readings, the odds are still not enough for a strong conviction. For now, the biggest argument for a few job losses is a bit of retracement from November’s extraordinarily strong job gains.

This doesn’t mean that Canada’s jobs report will be a non-mover, though! In fact, the fairly even odds (heh) make it even easier to surprise market players and prompt stronger price movement.

However, do note that Canada’s trade balance data and Uncle Sam’s close-watched NFP report will be printed at the same time as Canada’s jobs numbers.

So unless we see really huge hits or misses in Friday’s employment change, it’s likely that the report will only play a minor role in the Loonie’s Friday price action.