Canada’s economy created an unexpectedly high 42,900 net new jobs in March, according to a new Statistics Canada report, which drove the unemployment rate to 6.9 per cent to match a post-recession low.
The Canadian jobs gain, although mostly part-time, was about double what economists had anticipated and more than wipes out February’s 7,000 dip.
At 6.9 per cent, the Canadian jobless rate matches the lowest point it’s been since the 2008-09 recession.
The employment increase did not budge the participation rate from 66.2 per cent, however, as more Canadians began looking for work in March.
According to StatsCan, employment in Canada has risen by about 190,000 over the past 12 months, and the number of hours worked by 1.1 per cent.
The downside of the report? Besides the preponderance of part-time work, it was that almost all the new jobs were in the public sector, while new private sector hiring was limited to 3,900. New part-time jobs outnumbered full-time 30,100 to 12,800.
Still, the March numbers will be seen as a positive to the economy, which had been having difficulty gathering momentum during the unusually cold winter. Prior to March, the previous three months had seen a net loss of almost 22,000 jobs.
The agency said all the new jobs went to the services sector, mostly in the health care and social assistance category, as well as in business, building and other support services
Meanwhile, the goods producing sector shed almost 16,000 jobs, with agriculture and manufacturing both experiencing employment losses.
Regionally, most of the new jobs went to Canada’s most populous provinces, with British Columbia adding 18,300, Quebec 15,100 and Ontario 13,400. There were minor job losses in Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island.