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Business  

Economic streak ends

UPDATE 10:06 a.m.

The Canadian economy's six-month streak of job creation — that included a number of big gains — came to an end in March.

Employment last month dropped by 7,200 net jobs, the bulk of which were full-time positions, Statistics Canada said Friday in its latest labour force survey. The unemployment rate held firm at 5.8 per cent.

The March result followed a pair of big gains in January and February, and together the three-month period still gave Canada its best quarter of job creation since late 2017. The six consecutive months of rising employment, that began in September, added around 300,000 jobs.

"Was I terribly surprised to see a small pullback after the run we've seen? Probably not," said Brian DePratto, senior economist with Toronto-Dominion Bank.

"As it stands, we've had a pretty good run. March doesn't really change that materially. The six-month trend is still pretty strong."

Employment has been one of the most-resilient areas of an economy that has shown signs of slowing down in recent months.

In March, the number of employee positions in the private sector fell by 17,300, while public sector-employee jobs increased by 4,200 and self-employed occupations rose by 6,000.

Employment for women in the core working age group of 25 to 54 saw a decrease of 47,600 for its biggest month-to-month decline since the start of the data series in 1976. The jobless rate for the category rose to 4.7 per cent from 4.5 per cent.


UPDATE 5:56 a.m

The national unemployment rate was 5.8 per cent in March. Statistics Canada also released seasonally adjusted, three-month moving average unemployment rates for major cities. It cautions, however, that the figures may fluctuate widely because they are based on small statistical samples. Here are the jobless rates last month by city (numbers from the previous month in brackets):

— Kelowna, B.C. 3.9 (3.5)

— St. John's, N.L. 7.8 per cent (7.4)

— Halifax 4.9 (4.9)

— Moncton, N.B. 5.8 (5.8)

— Saint John, N.B. 5.6 (6.0)

— Saguenay, Que. 4.8 (4.9)

— Quebec 3.6 (3.9)

— Sherbrooke, Que. 3.8 (4.4)

— Trois-Rivieres, Que. 5.4 (5.3)

— Montreal 5.7 (5.9)

— Gatineau, Que. 5.5 (5.2)

— Ottawa 4.9 (5.0)

— Kingston, Ont. 4.8 (5.3)

— Peterborough, Ont. 6.7 (6.6)

— Oshawa, Ont. 5.0 (5.1)

— Toronto 6.6 (6.3)

— Hamilton, Ont. 3.5 (3.7)

— St. Catharines-Niagara, Ont. 6.6 (6.8)

— Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Ont. 4.7 (4.7)

— Brantford, Ont. 4.7 (4.6)

— Guelph, Ont. 2.2 (1.7)

— London, Ont. 5.0 (5.4)

— Windsor, Ont. 5.5 (5.2)

— Barrie, Ont. 6.3 (5.2)

— Sudbury, Ont. 5.9 (6.0)

— Thunder Bay, Ont. 6.3 (6.0)

— Winnipeg 5.4 (5.6)

— Regina 4.6 (4.8)

— Saskatoon 6.1 (6.1)

— Calgary 7.7 (7.6)

— Edmonton 7.1 (7.0)

— Abbotsford-Mission, B.C. 5.4 (5.0)

— Vancouver 4.8 (4.9)

— Victoria 3.0 (3.2)


ORIGINAL 5:41 a.m.

Statistics Canada says the economy lost 7,200 jobs in March, while the unemployment rate remained stable at 5.8 per cent.

The loss followed the gain of 55,900 jobs in February and 66,800 in January.

Economists on average had expected a gain of 1,000 jobs in March and an unemployment rate of 5.8 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

More coming.



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