Ontario leads Canada in job growth for February

Gladys Abbott
March 11, 2019

Youth aged 15 to 24 drove employment growth for the second consecutive month, accounting for more than half of total job gains.

At 4:04 p.m. (2104 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading 0.4 percent higher at 1.3405 to the greenback, or 74.60 USA cents. Part-time employment fell 11.6k. The agency said the number of more desirable employee positions in the private sector climbed by 31,800 last month, while public sector jobs rose 8,900. Rounding things out was a 15.1k net increase in self-employment. It was 6.8 per cent in January.

The goods-producing sectors added 9,500 new positions following job gains in natural resources, agriculture and manufacturing.

The report says the addition last month of 67,400 full-time jobs more than offset a loss of 11,600 part-time positions.

Canada's economy posted its second-straight surprise job surge, making the labor market a lone bright spot for an economy in the middle of a sharp slowdown.

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Economic data from earlier this month revealed continued signs of a cooling economy, as gross domestic product figures showed growth of 1.8 per cent in 2018 compared with 3 per cent a year earlier.

By region, Ontario saw the biggest employment increase last month with the addition of 36,900 jobs.

Gains for the loonie on Friday came despite separate data showing that Canadian housing starts tumbled about 16 percent in February.

Labour markets didn't get the memo. With the trend pace of hiring the strongest it's been since the turn of the millennium and full-time jobs leading the way, there is a lot to like in today's report, even allowing for the usual disclaimer about the monthly noise. Most economists expect the sluggishness to persist in the first six months of this year, before growth picks up steam later in 2019.

If wages were the concern through past year, hours worked may be the new candidate. The Canadian dollar jumped on the news. This is something to watch, particularly given the implications for economic output. Just days ago, the Bank of Canada held rates and said there was "increased uncertainty" on the timing of future hikes.

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