Canada’s economy added 41,000 jobs in February

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The Canadian economy added 41,000 jobs in February as employment gains continue to lag strong population growth in the country.

The federal agency’s labour force survey released Friday says the unemployment rate rose to 5.8 per cent.

Job gains were spread across several industries in the services-producing sector, with the strongest employment growth in accommodation and food services.

High interest rates are putting a drag on the economy, as consumers pull back spending, causing a slowdown in sales for businesses. But strong population growth appears to be offsetting some of those effects, including in the labour market.

“Today’s report is certainly impressive at first blush, particularly the towering rise in full-time jobs,” wrote BMO chief economist Douglas Porter, noting that the headline number was roughly double what economists had predicted.

“However, it’s staggeringly clear that the results are flattered by ongoing massive population gains, and the labour market is thus actually gradually cooling,” he added.

“On balance, this will not change the Bank of Canada’s worldview.”

Employment rate fell for 5th consecutive month

High population growth has added more consumers and workers to the economy, allowing for ongoing job gains in the country.

But other measures of employment paint a weaker picture of the labour market.

Statistics Canada has been putting more emphasis on the employment rate in its reports recently to capture whether job gains are keeping up with population growth.

The federal agency notes in Friday’s report that the employment rate — which represents the proportion of Canadians aged 15 years and older who are employed — fell for a fifth consecutive month in February.

That’s the longest period of consecutive decreases since the six-month period ending in April 2009.

Meanwhile, wages continue to grow rapidly in Canada. Average hourly wages were up five per cent from a year ago, down from a rate of 5.3 per cent in January.



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