A steel worker builds a structure in Ottawa on March 5, 2018. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Canada sees second straight monthly employment surge with 55,900 net new jobs

Canada’s February surge followed an even bigger gain of 66,800 positions in January

The labour market generated a second straight month of strong job gains in February with the creation of 55,900 net new positions, all of which were full time, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The Canadian increase even outpaced job creation in the United States, where figures showed an increase of just 20,000 new positions last month.

Canada’s February surge followed an even bigger gain of 66,800 positions in January. The back-to-back results gave Canada its strongest two-month stretch of job creation since the spring of 2012 — and its best two-month start to a year since 1981.

Even with the increase, the unemployment rate held firm last month at 5.8 per cent as more people hunted for work, the agency said in its latest labour force survey.

The addition last month of 67,400 full-time jobs more than offset a loss of 11,600 part-time positions, the data showed. The agency said the number of more desirable employee positions in the private sector climbed by 31,800 last month, while public sector jobs rose 8,900. The number of self-employed increased by 15,100.

Overall, the employment increase was led by a gain of 46,200 positions the services sector, largely concentrated in the categories of professional, scientific and technical services, public administration and wholesale and retail trade.

READ MORE: Unemployment rate sticks at 43-year low of 5.6%

The goods-producing sectors added 9,500 new positions following job gains in natural resources, agriculture and manufacturing.

Year-over-year average hourly wage growth in February for permanent employees was 2.3 per cent, which was up from a reading of 1.8 per cent in January.

The Bank of Canada keeps close watch of several wage indicators ahead of policy decisions on its key interest rate. In particular, the central bank focuses on a reading called “wage common,” which incorporates payroll data from several sources, not just from the labour force survey.

On Thursday, Bank of Canada deputy governor Lynn Patterson said she expects economic growth — which has seen an abrupt deceleration in recent months — to build fresh momentum in the second half of the year, thanks in large part to the still-strong employment conditions and improving wages.

Over the 12-month stretch leading up to February, total employment rose by 369,100 jobs or two per cent.

More young Canadians, between the ages of 15 and 24 years old, found work last month as youth employment gained 28,600 positions. The increase helped the youth jobless rate move down to 10.8 per cent, from 11.2 per cent in January.

By region, Ontario saw the biggest employment increase last month with the addition of 36,900 jobs.

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Cache Creek landfill extension set for September completion

Project has been delayed due to wildfires and floods over past two years

Drag races set to return for Graffiti Days weekend

Annual event features old favourites like the smoke show, and new events like a drive-in movie

Bonaparte River fishway, Thompson steelhead among projects awarded grant funding

More than $9 million will help 170 fish and wildlife projects around B.C.

Wellness clinics provide free, drop-in health information

New service in Clinton helps patients manage their health care and stay out of hospital

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana crops ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

Most Read