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Canadian Employers Shed 7,000 Jobs in February

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Canadian Employers Shed 7,000 Jobs in February

Employment in Canada unexpectedly declined in February, as job cuts in the public sector offset growth in the private sector.

Canada’s labour market was little changed in February, as employers shed 7,000 jobs, Statistics Canada reported today in Ottawa. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 7 percent after falling 0.2 percentage points in January. Economists in a Reuters poll called for a gain of 15,000 jobs last month after employment levels increased 29,400 in January.

Overall employment growth in Canada has been negligible since August 2013, the federal agency said. Compared to a year ago, employment increased by 95,000 and the unemployment rate was unchanged.

Public sector employment fell by 50,700 last month, as healthcare and social assistance, education, and transportation and warehousing all declined. Healthcare, which shed 27,500 jobs last month, was the hardest hit, official data showed. Compared to February 2013, public sector employment declined 1.1 percent.

Private sector employment rose by 35,200. Compared to a year ago, employment in the private sector was 1.1 percent higher.

Despite the overall loss, full-time work increased by 18,900, following a gain of more than 50,000 in January. Part-time work, meanwhile, fell by 25,900.

The Canadian labour market, which has been drifting sideways for several months, is expected to improve in the months ahead, according to National Bank senior economist Krishen Rangasamy. Job numbers, which are typically a lagging indicator, should receive a boost due to better economic growth. Canada’s gross domestic product expanded strongly in the fourth quarter, accelerating 2.9 percent annually.

The firmer GDP results have silenced speculation about lower interest rates. Armed stronger growth data, the Bank of Canada on Wednesday left its benchmark lending rate at 1 percent, the same level it has been at since September 2010.

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