Canada sees second straight monthly employment surge with 55,900 net new jobs

11:14am
 
Image Credit The Canadian Press

The unemployment rate in New Brunswick rose to 8.5 per cent in February after the loss of 900 full-time jobs.

Canada's employment gains were even stronger than those south of the border.

But B.C.'s unemployment rate fell another 0.2 percentage points from January to land at 4.5 per cent - the lowest among all provinces.

There was little change in the number of people who are self-employed, while employment dropped by 11,000 in transportation and warehousing, mostly in Ontario.

According to Statistics Canada, Canada's economy added almost 60,000 jobs this February, with the majority being in Ontario.

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The nation as a whole added 55,900 jobs while the unemployment rate remained static at 5.8 per cent as more people entered the workforce. In an economy with more than half a million vacant jobs, many seem to be finding work. Reinforced by both the weak end to 2018 and Bank communication this week, solid job trends over the previous year have not been translating into consumer spending.

The overall Canadian increase even outpaced job creation in the United States, where figures showed an increase of just 20,000 new positions last month.

More young Canadians, between the ages of 15 and 24 years old, found work last month as youth employment gained 28,600 positions. Annual average hourly gains accelerated to 2.3 percent in February from 2 percent a month earlier, with pay for permanent employees up 2.2 percent, from 1.8 percent previously.

The Bank of Canada keeps close watch of several wage indicators ahead of policy decisions on its key interest rate. In a speech on Thursday, central bank deputy governor Lynn Patterson highlighted Canada's strong employment numbers as one bright spot in a mixed bag of economic data. In particular, it focuses on a reading called "wage common", which incorporates payroll data from several sources, not just from the labour force survey. It was 6.8 per cent in January.

The employment gains in recent months come amid an otherwise dismal performance for the economy recently, amid stresses in the oil sector, weakening housing markets, volatility in global financial markets and waning consumer and business confidence.

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