Canadian job numbers soar in February

Best start to the year since 1981 – and way better than in the U.S. - although total hours worked fell 0.7% month on month

Ruth Saldanha 8 March, 2019 | 6:00PM

Despite all the negative news around the economy, and signs of slowing growth, Canada’s job numbers soared for the second month straight, adding credence to our belief that we aren’t headed for a recession in the immediate future.

Statistics Canada today said that employment grew for a second consecutive month, up 56,000 in February, driven by gains in full-time work, while the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.8%. In January, the economy added 66,800 jobs. This is the best start to a year since 1981.

“Somebody forgot to tell the Canadian job market that a slowdown is going on”, said BMO Financial Group’s chief economist Douglas Porter pointing out in a note that with the labour force jumping by 380,000 over the past year, this means it takes monthly job gains of nearly 32,000 to keep unemployment from rising --- so the bar for this report has risen accordingly. Even with a 2% jump in employment in the past year, the unemployment rate is precisely unchanged from a year ago, he said.

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Ruth Saldanha

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