The increase in Canadian employment was mainly led by Ontario and Quebec, due to more people working in construction, public administration and the service sector

Ottawa (AFP) - Canada’s economy rebounded in December as the national unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent of the workforce, down 0.3 points from November, the country’s statistics institute said Friday.

After losing 71,000 jobs in November, the economy created a better-than-expected 35,000 jobs in December.

The data exceeded analyst predictions of 32,000 new jobs and an unemployment rate decrease of 0.1 percentage points to 5.8 percent.

The rise in employment is mainly due to an increase in the private sector, where the number of employees rose by 57,000, “offsetting a decline of similar size in November” (50,000 workers), Statistics Canada said in a statement.

“Employment increased in accommodation and food services and in construction, while it was little changed in the other industries,” it said.

The increase in employment was mainly led by Ontario and Quebec, due to more people working in construction, public administration and the service sector.

Unemployment rates fell for almost all categories, with the exception of men aged 55 and over, where it rose from 4.9 percent to five.

Among people aged 15 to 24, the unemployment rate saw the largest decline to 11.1 percent, down from 11.6 percent in November.

Unemployment returned to the relative stability of previous months after increasing 0.4 percent in November to 5.9 percent, its highest level since the summer of 2018.

Over the course of 2019, the Canadian economy created 320,000 jobs, an increase of 1.7 percent, at “a faster pace than that observed over the same period in 2018,” Statistics Canada said.