OTTAWA – The national unemployment rate crept up to 7.3 per cent last month for the first time in three years amid flat overall job growth, Statistics Canada said Friday.
The jobless rate increased by 0.1 per cent for the third month in a row, the agency’s latest labour force survey found.
The report says the country lost 2,300 net jobs in February compared to the previous month, though the agency deemed that figure statistically insignificant.
A consensus of economists had been predicting the country to add 9,000 net jobs and for the unemployment rate to stay at 7.2 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.
The number of net full-time positions fell by 51,800, while less-desirable part-time jobs increased by 49,500.
By sector, the agency said the net number of jobs in natural resources fell by 8,900 last month compared to January.
Services industries, meanwhile, lost 44,500 positions last month following declines in categories such as education and health care and social assistance.
BC adding positions at a steady clip
Statistics Canada reports BC was the only province with a net gain in employment last month — 14,000. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.6 per cent.
Over a 12-month period, BC added a net 69,000 jobs, a three per cent increase that is the highest among the provinces.
In the same February-to-February period, Alberta lost a net 21,000 due to the collapse of oil prices. Economists have been predicting BC’s economic growth will lead the nation this year.
The report found that Saskatchewan was among the hardest hit provinces, losing 7,800 jobs compared to the previous month and seeing its unemployment rate climb 0.3 percentage points to 5.9 per cent.
The data also showed that self-employed positions across Canada increased by 3,000 last month, while the net number of employee jobs fell by 5,300.
The number of private-sector jobs rose by 15,200, while public-sector positions declined by 20,400.
The country’s youth unemployment rate climbed to 13.3 per cent last month, from 13.0 per cent in January.