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Canada loses jobs but unemployment rate falls to 6.8%

Statistics Canada said the economy shed 700 jobs last month, surprising analysts who had forecast 9,000 net new jobs after nearly 14,000 additional hires in May.

The report showed weakness in quality employment, with the loss of more than 40,000 full-time jobs in June.

Overall job losses affected both the private and public sectors. The home construction industry shed 29,000 jobs and manufacturing lost 13,000.

Job-gaining industries included hotels, up by 20,200 positions, and culture and leisure, up 14,100.

Even so, the jobless rate fell to 6.8 percent from 6.9 percent in May as the number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell by 20,000.

But the agency cautioned that the June data was incomplete. For the second straight month, it had not received data from the Fort McMurray, Alberta region which saw sweeping shutdowns of oil operations in May due to devastating wildfires.

Among the provinces, only British Columbia added a significant number of jobs in June: 16,000. The jobless rate there fell to 5.9 percent, the lowest in the country. Employment was little changed in the nine other provinces.

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