Canada's economy added 12,000 jobs last month, but the unemployment rate increased slightly to 7.1 per cent because more people were also looking for work.
Most of the jobs were part time, Statistics Canada said Friday, with 74,000 new part-time positions created during the month, offset by a loss of 62,000 full-time jobs.
The drop-off in full-time jobs was the largest monthly decline since October 2011. "Other details of the report are also weak," Scotiabank noted after the numbers came out: "hours worked dropped and the headline is bolstered mainly by gains in self-employed workers."
The jobless rate ticked up to 7.1 per cent. In the same period last year, the rate was 6.9 per cent. "That's the first time since 2009 that the unemployment rate has been above year-ago levels," BMO economist Doug Porter said, "not good."
But the overall jobs number was slightly better than economists had been expecting.
The average forecast in a survey of 20 economists polled by Bloomberg was for Canada to have created between 8,000 and 10,000 jobs during the month.
New jobs weren't spread evenly across the country, however.
Jobs were added in:
- British Columbia.
- Nova Scotia.
- Prince Edward Island.
Employment fell in:
- Newfoundland and Labrador.
All in all, Canada's economy has now added 161,000 jobs in the past 12 months, an increase of 0.9 per cent, the data agency said.