A welder fabricates a steel structure at an iron works facility in Ottawa on Monday, March 5, 2018. The economy shed 7,200 positions in March after a pair of strong monthly gains that helped country still manage to close out its best quarter of job creation since late 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada posts job-market decline in March that follows big gains to start 2019

The March decline followed monthly increases of 66,800 net new jobs in January and 55,900 in February

The economy shed 7,200 positions in March after a pair of strong monthly gains to start the year that helped the country still manage to close out its best quarter of job creation since late 2017, Statistics Canada said Friday.

The agency’s latest labour force survey found the unemployment rate held firm last month at 5.8 per cent.

The March decline followed monthly increases of 66,800 net new jobs in January and 55,900 in February — which was the country’s best two-month start to a year since 1981.

The employment increase over the first three months of 2019 was the strongest quarter since the final months of 2017.

“The party had to end at some point, since Canadian jobs data had outrun other signposts of economic growth so dramatically, making the small retreat in employment in March not much of a surprise,” CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld said in a research note.

Any prolonged stretch of significant job declines would be a concern for Canada, where employment has been one of the few consistent positives in an economy that has shown signs of slowing down in recent months.

Compared with a year earlier, the March report showed that Canada added 331,600 jobs for an increase of 1.8 per cent.

A loss of 6,400 full-time jobs made up the bulk of last month’s decrease, Statistics Canada said.

The number of employee positions in the private sector fell by 17,300 last month, while public-employee jobs increased by 4,200 and self-employed occupations rose by 6,000.

Employment for women in the core working age group of 25 to 54 saw a decrease of 47,600 for its biggest month-to-month decline since the start of the data series in 1976.

Year-over-year average hourly wage growth for all employees in March was 2.4 per cent, which was up from February’s reading of 2.3 per cent. For permanent employees, wage growth was 2.3 per cent, an increase from the previous reading of 2.25 per cent.

Many experts had expected the surprise job-creation surge at the start of the year to lose momentum. The average economist estimate had predicted a gain of 1,000 jobs, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters Eikon.

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Coming up in Cowichan: MS Bike this weekend; Easter Seals Camp Shawnigan

MS Bike is personal for Heather Armstrong MS Ambassador Heather Armstrong has… Continue reading

Why I am riding for Hospice

Cycle of Life Tour coming this weekend

Lake Flashback: Problem tubers on the river, coliform closes Duck Pond, and a timely whale rescue in Nitinat Lake

Plus this week: special newlyweds from 1979, and a unique idea for island garbage

VIDEO: CVRD already hard at work on climate change issues, Morrison tells One Cowichan

‘Not only is our rubber on the road, we’re up to speed!’ CVRD chair answers climate action critics

VIDEO: Sod-turning for $10 million Cowichan Hospice House a joyful event

A happy crowd gathered near Cairnsmore Place to celebrate the arrival of Hospice House

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

Cars keyed on BC Ferries after alarms bother dog on board

Delta police arrested one passenger on suspicion of mischief

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Most Read