Business

Jobless rate drops to 6.6% as Canada added 15,000 jobs in February

Canada's economy added another 15,000 jobs in February, pushing the unemployment rate down to 6.6 per cent.

288,000 jobs created in the past 12 months

Canada's economy added 15,000 jobs in February and the jobless rate declined to 6.6 per cent. (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)

Canada's economy added another 15,000 jobs in February, pushing the unemployment rate down to 6.6 per cent, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

An increase of more than 105,000 full-time jobs — the best monthly showing since 2006, Scotiabank noted — offset a decline of nearly 90,000 part-time jobs.

February's total added to 11 months that preceded it means Canada has cranked out 288,000 jobs in the past year.

The uptick in jobs pushed the jobless rate down to 6.6 per cent, tying its lowest level in almost a decade.

BMO economist Benjamin Reitzes noted that the jobless rate was pushed down both by the new job creation but also by "a one tick decline in the participation rate (to 65.8 per cent)."

The decent showing beat expectations of economists polled by Bloomberg, which had been anticipating a loss of about 5,000 jobs during the month.

By province, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba added jobs, while there were fewer people working in Nova Scotia and in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"Employment was essentially unchanged in the other five provinces," Statistics Canada said.

Coming on the heels of strong months in December and January when more than 100,000 net new jobs were created, Reitzes described the report as "pretty decent."

"This continues the string of improving Canadian economic data and suggests that the underlying economy continues to gain steam," he said. "One more piece of evidence that the Canadian economy has turned the corner."

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