UPDATE 1-Canada posts huge job gain in December, surprise drop in jobless rate
OTTAWA, Jan 6 (Reuters) - The Canadian economy gained a 104,000 jobs in December, far exceeding analysts' forecasts, while the jobless rate unexpectedly declined to 5%, Statistics Canada data showed on Friday.
Analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast a gain of 8,000 jobs and for the unemployment rate to edge up to 5.2% in December from 5.1% in November.
The employment gain was largely driven by full-time work, particularly among youth aged 15 to 24, and was spread across industries, Statscan said.
The average hourly wage for permanent employees rose 5.2% in December on a year-over-year basis, down from 5.4% in November.
Employment in the goods-producing sector rose by a 22,200, mainly in construction. The services sector was up by a 81,700 positions, led by transportation and warehousing as well as information, culture and recreation.
Employees in the private sector rose by 112,000 in December, the largest increase since February, while public sector and self-employed workers were both little changed.
The Canadian dollar CAD= was at 1.3604 to the greenback, or 73.51 U.S. cents after the data.
(Reporting by Ismail Shakil; Additional reporting by Dale Smith in Ottawa and Fergal Smith in Toronto; Editing by Jan Harvey)