Unemployment rates stagnant in February

Despite positive forecast, Canada creates minimal job opportunities
By Zachary Pedersen
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 03/11/2011

Canada’s unemployment rate is unchanged for February, remaining at 7.8 per cent. Only 15,100 jobs were added to the market, according to Statistics Canada.

This is a disappointment as it was hoped the positive hiring trend in the two months prior would continue. In January, Canada saw net job gains at 69,200, after 30,400 in December. It had been forecasted that February would bring an increase of 21,000 jobs created.

Part-time employment accounted for all the gains as it increased by 39,000. Increases were mostly concentrated in the health care and social assistance sector, which added 18,000 jobs. The accommodation and food services sector also saw a significant rise of 15,000.

Alberta was the only province with employment gain in February, as it improved by 14,000. Ontario and Saskatchewan fell slightly, while there was little change in the remaining provinces.

Full-time employment actually fell by 23,800 with the majority of losses seen in the building, business, and other support services group. The private sector decreased by 20,000 jobs, and the number of non-self-employed employees in Canada declined by 10,400.

Statistics Canada also highlighted that of the 322,000 jobs created over the past, notably more have been part-time jobs than full-time.

American unemployment statistics were released last week. Similarly, rates remain unchanged at 8.9 per cent. In February, “nonfarm employment” increased by 192,000.

The average hourly wages for those 15 years and over rose 2.5 per cent over the year to $23.06. Union wages rose 3 per cent to $26.49 and non-union went up 2.2 per cent to $21.45.

The professional and business services sector in the U.S. grew the most with a gain of 47,000, followed by healthcare employment which saw an increase of 34,000. Manufacturing and construction sectors both grew by 33,000. State and local government sectors both lost a combined 30,000 jobs. Local government has lost 377,000 jobs since its peak in September 2008.

The average hourly earnings of all workers on private nonfarm payrolls increased by $0.01 to $22.87. Over the past year, average hourly earnings have gone up by 1.7 per cent.

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