A steel worker builds a structure in Ottawa on March 5, 2018. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Canada sees second straight monthly employment surge with 55,900 net new jobs

Canada’s February surge followed an even bigger gain of 66,800 positions in January

The labour market generated a second straight month of strong job gains in February with the creation of 55,900 net new positions, all of which were full time, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The Canadian increase even outpaced job creation in the United States, where figures showed an increase of just 20,000 new positions last month.

Canada’s February surge followed an even bigger gain of 66,800 positions in January. The back-to-back results gave Canada its strongest two-month stretch of job creation since the spring of 2012 — and its best two-month start to a year since 1981.

Even with the increase, the unemployment rate held firm last month at 5.8 per cent as more people hunted for work, the agency said in its latest labour force survey.

The addition last month of 67,400 full-time jobs more than offset a loss of 11,600 part-time positions, the data showed. 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. The number of self-employed increased by 15,100.

Overall, the employment increase was led by a gain of 46,200 positions the services sector, largely concentrated in the categories of professional, scientific and technical services, public administration and wholesale and retail trade.

READ MORE: Unemployment rate sticks at 43-year low of 5.6%

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

Year-over-year average hourly wage growth in February for permanent employees was 2.3 per cent, which was up from a reading of 1.8 per cent in January.

The Bank of Canada keeps close watch of several wage indicators ahead of policy decisions on its key interest rate. In particular, the central bank focuses on a reading called “wage common,” which incorporates payroll data from several sources, not just from the labour force survey.

On Thursday, Bank of Canada deputy governor Lynn Patterson said she expects economic growth — which has seen an abrupt deceleration in recent months — to build fresh momentum in the second half of the year, thanks in large part to the still-strong employment conditions and improving wages.

Over the 12-month stretch leading up to February, total employment rose by 369,100 jobs or two per cent.

More young Canadians, between the ages of 15 and 24 years old, found work last month as youth employment gained 28,600 positions. The increase helped the youth jobless rate move down to 10.8 per cent, from 11.2 per cent in January.

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

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

In a fight against cancer, Victoria man’s only stem cell match was his own donation

More mixed race and Asian stem cell donors needed, says Victoria family

VicPD warn public on fake firearms after responding to four gun calls in just five hours

Officers treat each firearm as a real weapon until they can determine it isn’t, say police

Bridges for Women grad takes on new business idea

Victoria woman puts her lessons into action with Sweeping Beauty Concierge

Howard the Gnome finds a home at Galey Farms

Eight-metre gnome expected to greet visitors to Saanich farm this fall

Famous Floyd’s to open in Royal Oak

Building in Saanich turns iconic pink of local breakfast chain

VIDEO: 13-year-old killed in B.C. crash that involved five kids

The children range in age from six to 17.

POLL: Do you still have a landline telephone?

With smart phones becoming an indispensable part of modern-day life, more and… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 26

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

MPs denounce leaked reports of Trudeau-JWR clash over Supreme Court pick

Opposition MPs called the leaks an act of desperation meant to smear Wilson-Raybould

Study says B.C.’s housing policies mean drug users can be targeted for eviction

The study involves 50 people living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

VIDEO: Homicide team called in after three killed in Surrey car crash

Investigators ask public to come forward with information, dashcam video

Stranger climbs onto B.C. family’s second-floor balcony, lights fire in barbecue

Incident in Abbotsford terrifies family with two-year-old boy

UPDATED: Sailings resume after BC Ferries boat hits Langdale terminal

The Queen of Surrey is stuck on the dock, causing delays to Horseshoe Bay trips

Eviction halted for B.C. woman deemed ‘too young’ for seniors’ home

Zoe Nagler, 46, had been given notice after living in the seniors complex in Comox for six years

Most Read