A welder fabricates a steel structure at an iron works facility in Ottawa on Monday, March 5, 2018. The economy shed 7,200 positions in March after a pair of strong monthly gains that helped country still manage to close out its best quarter of job creation since late 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada posts job-market decline in March that follows big gains to start 2019

The March decline followed monthly increases of 66,800 net new jobs in January and 55,900 in February

The economy shed 7,200 positions in March after a pair of strong monthly gains to start the year that helped the country still manage to close out its best quarter of job creation since late 2017, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The agency’s latest labour force survey found the unemployment rate held firm last month at 5.8 per cent.

The March decline followed monthly increases of 66,800 net new jobs in January and 55,900 in February — which was the country’s best two-month start to a year since 1981.

The employment increase over the first three months of 2019 was the strongest quarter since the final months of 2017.

“The party had to end at some point, since Canadian jobs data had outrun other signposts of economic growth so dramatically, making the small retreat in employment in March not much of a surprise,” CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld said in a research note.

Any prolonged stretch of significant job declines would be a concern for Canada, where employment has been one of the few consistent positives in an economy that has shown signs of slowing down in recent months.

Compared with a year earlier, the March report showed that Canada added 331,600 jobs for an increase of 1.8 per cent.

A loss of 6,400 full-time jobs made up the bulk of last month’s decrease, Statistics Canada said.

The number of employee positions in the private sector fell by 17,300 last month, while public-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.

Year-over-year average hourly wage growth for all employees in March was 2.4 per cent, which was up from February’s reading of 2.3 per cent. For permanent employees, wage growth was 2.3 per cent, an increase from the previous reading of 2.25 per cent.

Many experts had expected the surprise job-creation surge at the start of the year to lose momentum. The average economist estimate had predicted a gain of 1,000 jobs, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters Eikon.

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Annual Festival of the Arts wraps up with showcase evening

Students performed award-winning instrumental and piano compositions, songs, and poetry

Interior Health to offer clinics at schools to catch-up on measles vaccinations

Interior Health to hold clinics at schools offering measles immunization catch-up program

PSO girl’s soccer team places 12th in Hope tournament

The team was short players throughout its first tournament with new coach Nicole Weir

Ecosystem restoration burn planned for Churn Creek area

The BC Wildfire Service will conduct the 100-hectare burn sometime between April 17 and May 17

Gas prices spike in northern B.C. ahead of the long weekend

Fuel went up 17 cents overnight in Prince Rupert

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Man airlifted to hospital after apparent hunting incident in East Kootenay

The man was in stable condition when he was flown out of Fairmont Hot Springs to a Calgary hospital

Police probe eight fires set at B.C. elementary school

Nanaimo RCMP say fires appear to have been set intentionally

Most Read