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

Image Credit The Canadian Press

11:14am Image Credit The Canadian Press

"The weak economic data that closed out 2018, and weak momentum heading into this year has not yet had any impact on labour markets", said TD senior economist Brian DePratto in an investors' note, referring to Canada's overall gains in jobs.

Canada's February surge followed an even bigger gain of 66,800 positions in January.

The encouraging numbers provided a bright spot for the economy, which has posted disappointing data in recent months. Canada's economic growth slowed sharply in the fourth quarter of 2018 on plunging Canadian crude export prices.

"We continue to see steady gains in employment and improvements in the participation rates". "I think the Bank is pretty much on hold and this shows the economy has some underlying resilience", he said, adding a rate cut was unlikely "any time soon". Reinforced by both the weak end to 2018 and Bank communication this week, solid job trends over the past year have not been translating into consumer spending.

Caranci said the Bank of Canada will likely view the February numbers "as a positive sign and a bit of a relief".

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

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The report says the addition last month of 67,400 full-time jobs more than offset a loss of 11,600 part-time positions.

Alberta's employment level was mostly unchanged from January and last February, but the agency says the number of people looking for work has increased, pushing the provincial unemployment rate up to 7.3 percent. Youth aged 15 to 24 drove employment growth for the second consecutive month, accounting for more than half of total job gains.

More people were also employed in public administration; natural resources; and agriculture in February.

Year-over-year average hourly wage growth in February for permanent employees was 2.3 per cent, which was up from a reading of 1.8 per cent for January.

The Bank of Canada's benchmark interest rate is at 1.75 percent. One year ago at this time, the region has a 6.9 per cent unemployment rate.

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