RTTNews - Around 1.6 million Canadians were unemployed in June, driving the unemployment rate higher to 8.6%, according to data released Friday morning by Statistics Canada.

June's figures left total net losses during the last three months at 13,000, much smaller than the 273,000 decline in the first three months of the year. The unemployment rate edged up 0.2 percentage points to 8.6%, as more people looked for work.

The unemployment rate was forecast to rise to 8.7% from 8.4% in May. Economists predicted a net loss of 40,000 jobs.

Full-time employment continued its downward trend in June, offsetting gains in part time. Since employment peaked in October 2008, full-time losses (-454,000) have been only partially offset by part-time gains (+84,000), leaving total employment down by 370,000.

Self-employment rose in June, while the number of employees in the private sector decreased. Since October, self-employment has grown by 1.5%, whereas the number of employees has fallen, especially in the private sector.

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