Strong May employment report sends Canadian dollar up one-third of a cent

TORONTO - The Canadian dollar was higher Friday amid a strong jobs report for May.

The loonie was off early highs late in the morning but still up 0.33 of a cent to 97.8 cents US after Statistics Canada reported that the economy created 95,000 jobs in May, most of them full-time positions. Also, the unemployment rate moved down to 7.1 per cent from 7.2 per cent.

Economists had expected job creation somewhere in the neighbourhood of 15,000 last month.

Meanwhile, traders also took in a stronger-than expected read on American employment last month.

The U.S. Labour Department said that 175,000 jobs were created during May.

The expectation had been for the economy to have cranked out about 165,000 jobs during May.

But analysts had worried that modest expectation for U.S. employment was doubtful after disappointing reads on private sector hiring from payroll firm ADP and the employment component of the Institute for Supply Management's index on the U.S. non-manufacturing sector.

Prices for oil and metals were mixed as the American jobs data improved demand prospects and pushed July crude on the New York Mercantile Exchange up 99 cents to US$95.75 a barrel.

The commodity-sensitive loonie backed off from a high of 98.37 cents earlier in the day as the U.S. jobs report also pushed August gold down $37.40 to US$1,378.40 an ounce while copper was down five cents at US$3.27 a pound.