Canadian Unemployment Rate

The Globe and Mail, April 10, 2014 - Following its surprise reversal in February, employment resumed positive monthly growth in March and on the back of an unexpectedly sharp rise of some 42,900, its best performance since last August. With the participation rate unchanged at 66.2 percent, the jobless rate edged a tick lower to 6.9 percent, a touch softer than the market consensus. Read More

However, March's employment gain was driven by the public sector where headcount was up fully 39,300. Private sector positions expanded only 3,900 while the number of self-employed dipped 500. Full-time positions grew 12,800 and part-time jobs were up 30,100.

Having suffered in mid-quarter, services were wholly responsible for the headline rise in employment. Within a 58,500 gain for the sector as a whole, health care and social assistance (23,600) dominated ahead of business, building and other support services (15,400). Other smaller increases were see in public administration (8,300), transportation and warehousing (7,200) and finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (5.200). Professional, scientific and technical services gained 5,700 and the other services category 7,900. The only declines of note were in retail (5,800) and information, culture and recreation (7,500).

By contrast, goods producing industries saw payrolls drop 15,600 within which manufacturing was down 9,200. Agriculture fell 12,400 but elsewhere there were small gains, including a 2,700 rise in construction.

With the rebound in March, employment rose a solid 65,300 over the first quarter. This compares not only favourably with a weather-impacted 7,200 contraction in the previous period but also with the third quarter's 26,700 increase. The BoC's January Monetary Policy Report forecast of 2.5 percent (saar) GDP growth in the first quarter now looks rather less optimistic although at this stage it still seems as if the economy is really only chugging along.

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