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

Guns, crossbows, ammo seized in raid on Langley home

Weapons also included stun guns and replica firearms

Surrey unanimously nixes move to allow more liquor stores after strong opposition

Amid a cannabis shop ban in the city, Surrey councillors had questioned proposed zoning changes

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

LIVE MAP: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Polls are now closed across the country

Owner of now-closed South Surrey seafood store pleads guilty to illegally importing fish into U.S.

‘We would not put customer health and safety at risk’: Seven Seas Fish

In the news: Liberals eke out a win, but will need NDP, Green support to pass bills

Conservatives say they are ready if Trudeau should falter

‘Issue-by-issue parliament’: Expert says Liberals need to placate NDP to be effective

Scandals, social issues, racism defined 2019 federal election, SFU prof says

Misconduct investigations spike by 65% across B.C.’s municipal police forces: report

Reports overall up 15 per cent while complaints made by public down seven per cent

Homicide team investigates death of man in his 20s in Chilliwack

Male in his 20s not expected to survive his injuries

‘Wexit’ talk percolates day after Liberals returned to power with minority

An online petition is calling for a western alliance and Alberta to separate

Vancouver artist casts bronze ‘replacement’ egg for defaced Dali sculpture

Artist Richard Forbes installed the new egg after the original was stolen

Federal election saw 66% of registered voters hit the polls across Canada

Roughly 18 million people cast their ballots, voting in a Liberal minority government

‘Inconsistent’ message on climate change hurt Liberals at the polls: SFU prof

Trudeau government will have to make concessions to hold onto power

Alleged RCMP secret leaker must stay with B.C. parents while on bail

Cameron Ortis, 47, is charged with violating the Security of Information Act

Most Read