Every week we bring you the world’s biggest travel, business and currency exchange news. This week: strong economic performance in Canada and the US, Delta are the latest airline embroiled in controversy, and more.
Canada unemployment down
Thanks to the addition of 3,200 new jobs in April Canada’s unemployment rate dropped to just 6.5% – the lowest level since 2008. Despite the small number of new jobs created in April, the average over the last nine months has been a healthy 32,000 new jobs per month. Wage growth however fell to the lowest levels since 1998 with just 0.7% year on year growth for hourly workers, and 0.5% for salaried employees.
Healthy economic indicators
In addition to dropping unemployment Canada’s economy has some further strong indicators. The merchandise trade deficit fell from $1.08 billion in February to just $135 million in March despite economist estimates that the total would be between $550 million and $1.8 billion. Exports also rose 4.8% to a record high of $47 billion, while energy exports rose 7% and consumer goods rose by 6.8%.
US Posts Strong Job Growth
The US economy added 211,000 jobs in April, easing growing concerns of an impending slowdown. The unemployment rate also dropped to a very healthy 4.4%, down from 4.5% in March. Just 79,000 jobs were created in March, revised down from initial estimates of 98,000. It takes 75,000 to 100,000 new jobs just to keep up with the growth of people in the workforce. Average hourly earnings also rose to $26.19 up 2.5% year on year.
Fed holds rates
Earlier in the week, before the job numbers were made public, the Fed kept interest rates unchanged, but indicated that the strength of the labour market meant that they remained on track for two more rate rises this year. When exactly rates will rise remains a mystery however. A higher interest rate means a stronger USD which will make imports cheaper, but exports less competitive. Rates have remained at historically low levels for almost 10 years.
In the latest incident of airline misconduct a family with two young children was kicked off a Delta flight for placing one of their toddlers in a seat that they had purchased. Originally the seat had been purchased by the couple for their eldest son who couldn’t make the flight, Delta says that seats cannot be transferred. An official on the plan ordered the family to vacate the seat and threatened that they would be arrested and their children taken away.
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