Canada sheds 1,000 jobs in February as jobless rate rises to 6.8%

Canada's economy lost 1,000 jobs in February, and the unemployment rate ticked up 0.2 percentage points to 6.8 per cent.

Alberta loses 14,000 jobs during month, pushing its unemployment rate up by almost a full point

Laid-off works seeking work beware. With thousands of layoffs in the oil and gas sector, Service Alberta is warning of phony websites offering bogus jobs. (Canadian Press)

Canada's economy lost 1,000 jobs in February, and the unemployment rate ticked up 0.2 percentage points to 6.8 per cent.

The jobs loss was lower than the predicted a net loss of 5,000 jobs, according to Thomson Reuters, while the jobless rate came in higher than the 6.7 per cent consensus projection of economists.

Statistics Canada said Friday that most of the job losses came in Alberta, but there were also decreases in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. In Quebec, there was a surge of 17,000 new part-time jobs.

In other provinces, the job market has been stagnating for the past two months, the data agency said.

BMO economist Robert Kavcic said the impact of cheap oil is starting to have an impact on job markets across the country, and flipping some assumptions. "Indeed, things got more interesting at the regional level in February, with cracks from the slide in oil prices now starting to clearly emerge," Kavcic wrote in a note to clients.

Alberta alone lost 14,000 jobs during the month, pushing the province's unemployment rate up by almost a full percentage point to 5.3 per cent — it's highest level since late 2011. The employment losses in Alberta spanned a number of industries and were not solely concentrated in natural resources.

Canada's economy actually added 34,000 full-time jobs during the month, but that figure was more than offset by a loss of almost 35,000 part-time jobs.

Scotiabank noted that the increase in full-time work would normally be encouraging, but there's weakness in the underlying numbers nonetheless.

"The big question moving forward is how Canadian jobs numbers will react to the drop in oil prices," the bank said in a note to clients.

With files from The Canadian Press


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