Canada job numbers higher on cannabis boost

Ottawa (AFP) –


Canada's pot legalization helped to significantly boost job numbers in November and push the unemployment rate down 0.2 percentage points to 5.6 percent -- the lowest level since 1976, the government statistical agency said on Friday.

In total, 94,000 jobs were added in the month. Gains were spread throughout most of the country, but led by Quebec and Alberta. Only the four eastern Maritimes provinces saw no changes, according to Statistics Canada.

It said the number of people employed in cannabis-related jobs -- including bud trimming -- in November rose 266 percent to 10,400, against the same period a year earlier.

Recreational-use cannabis was legalized on October 17, creating an entirely new industry.

More than half of these jobs were in Ontario province, which has the largest concentration of licensed producers.

Pot workers were also paid slightly more than the national average salary, Can$29.58 (US$19.43) versus Can$27.03.

Overall, more people worked in the month in professional, scientific and technical services, which employed an additional 26,000 people; as well as in health care and social assistance; construction; business, building and other support services; transportation and warehousing; and agriculture.

At the same time, fewer people were employed in information, culture and recreation jobs.

The private sector increased hiring in the month, while there was little change in the public sector or in the number of self-employed individuals.

Employment increased for both core-aged women and men (aged 25 to 54), as well as for older Canadians aged 55 and over.