OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada's economy unexpectedly ditched in October almost all the jobs gained the month before as a sluggish economy led to layoffs in manufacturing and construction, according to Statistics Canada on Friday.

Net job losses of 54,000 last month were the largest since February 2009 and pushed the unemployment rate back up to 7.3 percent -- the same level seen in August -- from 7.1 percent.

The data contrasted with market expectations for 12,000 new positions and followed an equally surprising increase in September of nearly 61,000.

Most of the details in the report were discouraging, with the private sector shedding 32,000 jobs and some 72,000 full-time positions vanishing.

Still, Statscan said total employment rose by 1.4 percent in the past year and full-time employment grew 1.6 percent.

Canada's labor market bounced back more quickly from the recession than that of the United States and by January had recouped all the jobs lost during the downturn.

Manufacturing and construction were the hardest-hit sectors in October, and natural resources was the only one with significant gains.

Wage pressures on inflation continued to subside. The average hourly wage of permanent employees, the indicator most closely tracked by the central bank, climbed 1.3 percent on the year from a 1.6 percent increase in September.

(Reporting by Louise Egan and Howaida Sorour; Editing by Padraic Cassidy)