×

UPDATE 1-Canada jobs growth tops forecasts in June, unemployment rate dips

(Adds details from report)

OTTAWA, July 7 (Reuters) - Canada added far more jobs than expected in June as hiring in the professional and agricultural sectors jumped, Statistics Canada said on Friday in a report that deepened expectations of an interest rate hike as soon as next week.

The economy added 45,300 jobs last month, topping economists' forecasts for a gain of 10,000. The unemployment rate dipped to 6.5 percent, its lowest since April, even as more people were looking for work.

Still, the details were mixed, with part-time jobs rising by 37,100 and accounting for the bulk of the hiring gains. Full-time employment rose by 8,100.

The labor market has strengthened over the past several months as the economy recovered from the hit it took from cheaper oil prices two years ago. Since last June, employers have added 350,800 jobs, with 248,200 of those full time.

Amid an improving economy, Bank of Canada policymakers began taking a more hawkish tone last month and markets are increasingly betting on an interest rate hike after the central bank's next meeting on July 12.

June's job gains were led by a 27,000 increase in the professional, scientific and technical services sector as employers hired more computer system designers. The goods-producing sector added 16,000 jobs, with gains in agriculture and manufacturing.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)