Canada lost 2,100 jobs in April, and the unemployment rate stayed steady at 7.1 per cent, according to Statistics Canada.
The service sector added 35,000 new jobs, most in wholesale and retail trade. But that was offset by a large drop in goods-producing industries.
"Every category in the goods sector was down," Scotiabank said, "led by 16,500 fewer manufacturing jobs, but with construction (down 5,700), resources (down 7,800), agriculture (down 7,000) and utilities (down 200 jobs) also not helping."
Alberta lost jobs while B.C. gained
Alberta lost 20,800 jobs in April — more than all the other provinces combined.
"You know that saying, 'when it rains it pours,'" TD economist Brian DePratto said Friday in an interview. "And certainly Alberta has gone through a difficult time … this is just more challenge for that province."
But Alberta's drop was slightly offset in the national figure by a gain of 13,000 jobs in neighbouring British Columbia.
Newfoundland and Labrador added 6,100 jobs, while all other provinces either gained or lost a small number of jobs.
The slight drop in employment was a moderate disappointment to economists, who had been expecting the economy to add about 1,000 jobs in total.
Doug Porter at Bank of Montreal said the pullback was to be expected after a strong March in which the economy added more than 40,000 jobs, but even so, the size of the slowdown in manufacturing concerned him.
"This nasty two-month pullback has cut manufacturing employment below year-ago levels, a swift reversal for this former great hope for the job market," he said.
The manufacturing sector has now lost more than 50,000 jobs since December. That's come in a time when the loonie has been weak — something which would ordinarily be good news for manufacturers.