The National Capital Region continued its run of strong employment growth last month, adding 2,600 new jobs and pushing the unemployment rate down to its lowest level in more than a year and a half, according to Statistics Canada.
That brings the number of new jobs created in Ottawa and Gatineau in 2011 to 14,100. By comparison, the region added 6,000 new positions in all of 2010.
In June, most of the local growth came in Gatineau, where 1,900 new jobs were added.
The employment gains, combined with a reduction in the size of the labour force in Ottawa, brought the region’s unemployment rate down from 6.1 per cent to 5.8 per cent. That’s the lowest level since November 2009, when it stood at 5.6 per cent.
Year-over-year, the biggest gains were in the service sector, specifically retail, wholesale, transportation, warehousing, accommodations, food services as well as professional, scientific and technical positions.
The region’s tech sector was flat at 46,000 jobs. Despite reports that the federal government has started eliminating positions within the civil service, the number of public administration positions only declined modestly, to 163,600 jobs in June 2011 compared to 164,100 a year earlier.
Nationally, the Canadian economy created 28,000 jobs last month, helped by a gain the part-time jobs to post its third consecutive month of growth.
The country's unemployment rate held steady in June at 7.4 per cent as the number of people entering the workforce increased, according to Statistics Canada.
The increase in jobs was mainly in the part-time sector, which added 21,000 jobs, compared with 7,000 new full-time jobs.
Economists had expected an overall increase of 10,000 jobs.
The public sector added 51,000 jobs in the month, while there were 22,000 new jobs in the private sector.
However, those gains were offset by a drop of 44,000 in the number of self-employed people in Canada.
The gains were led by the transportation and warehousing industry which saw a gain of 15,000 jobs, while the professional, scientific and technical services sector lost 19,000 jobs.
The construction and manufacturing sectors were little changed for the month.
Ontario, Alberta and Nova Scotia all posted employment gains in June, while Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador saw losses.
Employment was up 40,000 jobs in Ontario following a slight drop in May.
South of the border, hiring slowed to a near-standstill last month. Employers added the fewest jobs in nine months and the unemployment rate rose to 9.2 per cent.
The U.S. Labor Department says the economy generated only 18,000 net jobs in June.
-With reports from the Canadian Press and Associated Press