More people working in Windsor, not enough to boost jobless rate

By Charles Lefebvre
By Charles Lefebvre
Author

11 March, 2019

"The ongoing gains in employment suggest that the current soft patch in broader activity is not morphing into something more ominous", BMO chief economist Douglas Porter wrote to investors. In an economy with more than half a million vacant jobs, many seem to be finding work. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.8 percent, in line with forecasts, while wage growth was up.

Canada's employment gains were even stronger than those south of the border.

What happened: B.C. adds 3,600 jobs in February; unemployment rate falls 0.2 percentage points to 4.5 per cent.

Statistics Canada also reported that participation by women in the workforce was up.

The unemployment rate in Northeast B.C. saw an increase last month of 0.5 percent, up to 6.0 percent when compared to January's rate of 5.5 percent.

On Wednesday, the Bank of Canada acknowledged it was surprised by the extent of the weakness in last week's report.

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The goods-producing sectors added 9,500 new positions following job gains in natural resources, agriculture and manufacturing. It was the third month of outsized job gains in the last four and, for the first time since 2012, total Canadian job gains beat USA employment growth, which nearly stalled in February with just 20,000 jobs created.

"A total of 67,400 full-time positions were added during the month but 11,600 part-time jobs were shed, accounting for the 56,000 net total".

Overall, the employment increase was led by a gain of 46,200 positions in the services sector, largely concentrated in the categories of professional, scientific and technical services, public administration and wholesale and retail trade. It's a key reason why the Bank of Canada is sticking to its belief the economy will rebound and interest rates will likely head higher.

Year-over-year average hourly wage growth in February for permanent employees was 2.3 per cent, which was up from a reading of 1.8 per cent in January. National employment in this industry rose by 6.8% year over year, up by 97,000 jobs.

By region, Ontario saw the biggest employment increase last month with the addition of 36,900 jobs.


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