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

Tears and laughter celebrate Bruce Johnson’s Life

Over 1,000 people packed the conference hall of the Lakeside to celebrate the life of Bruce Johnson

Destructive blaze in West Kelowna fatal for cat

The fire at a West Kelowna condo claimed the life of one tenant’s cat

For New York artist from the darkness comes light

Light has a spiritual life of its own for New York artist who opens his show March 30 in Penticton

Penticton SAR team helicopters injured climber to safety

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

‘Hauntingly gritty’ duo coming to iconic Okanagan music venue

The LYNNeS multi-award-winning Canadian folk artists are going to be in Penticton March 27

Okanagan experts share bike security tips

Geoff Prowse from the Bike Barn and Josh Shulman from Freedom the Bike Shop share their tips.

Bobrovsky perfect as Blue Jackets blank Canucks 5-0

Vancouver shut out for 10th time this season

Kelowna artist featured on furniture

Shandra Smith’s work is now available on credenzas

Destructive blaze in West Kelowna fatal for cat

The fire at a West Kelowna condo claimed the life of one tenant’s cat

Sock Hop aims to send dancers back to another time

Writers’ Festival fundraiser in Salmon Arm springs into step for another year

Man pinned under metal tank in West Kelowna

Emergency personnel are on the scene

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Most Read