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

Nelson’s Ryan Lewis wins main event at Fight Night 7

Lewis earned a split decision against Victoria’s Donny Cornelius

Warning issued after several overdoses in Castlegar

Interior Health says the overdoses appear to be the result of cocaine contaminated with fentanyl.

Leafs win seventh straight game

Nelson held off Golden 7-5

Green and NDP candidates talk strategic voting at Nelson public meeting

Wayne Stetski and Abra Brynne traded ideas but made no concessions for this election

Shawn Campbell scores 4 as Leafs beat Rebels 5-3

Campbell now has seven goals in just four games this season

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Most Read