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Construction – which accounted for nearly half of the job gains in May – is ‘most ripe for a correction,’ said Jonathan Basile, director of economics at Credit Suisse, as other readings point to a slowdown in the sector.Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

Job numbers frequently defy predictions, but one bet is safe: May's near record-breaking jump won't likely be repeated.

Economists are expecting a drop of about 5,000 jobs in June, a reversal from a month earlier when employers created 95,000 positions – the second-largest number on record.

Through history, there have been five other instances of job gains of roughly that magnitude, and each time, "payback came the very next month," noted Jonathan Basile, director of economics at Credit Suisse, who expects employers to shed 20,000 positions in June.

Construction – which accounted for nearly half of the job gains in May – is "most ripe for a correction," he said as other readings point to a slowdown in the sector.

Others are a little more optimistic. CIBC economists expect employers created 10,000 jobs in the month as a better outlook for U.S. growth and easing anxiety over the euro zone support hiring in factories and the resource sector.

However, "retailers and other services more closely tied to a struggling Canadian household sector, probably weren't rushing out to boost head counts," they noted.

In the longer term, where are the chief pockets of strength in the labour market right now?

Employment and earnings data from Statistics Canada's payrolls report yields some insights:

Professional and scientific services: Average weekly earnings have risen 3.7 per cent in the past year, tied with public administration sector for the biggest earnings increase of any sector. That's well above the current rate of inflation, at 0.7 per cent. Workers in this sector (which include legal services, computer systems design, architects and engineers) tend to also be in higher-paying jobs, with average earnings of $1,291 a week, above the national average of $910 per week.

Saskatchewan: The fastest pace of earnings growth in the country is in resource-rich Saskatchewan, at 4.4 per cent, with growth in pay spread through a range of industries. The province has also added to the head count at a faster pace than the national average over the past year. Companies such as Bombardier, Potash and CIBC are all hiring in the province, and there are more than 3,200 job postings, according to the job search engine Adzuna.

Education: The educational sector has seen above-average employment gains both between March and April and over the past year. Education employs about 1.2 million people in the country, with average pay of $1,010 a week. Earnings growth is also rising at a faster pace than the national average.

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