Canada’s manufacturing sector in March posted the largest one-month increase in jobs since 2002, but it wasn’t enough to buoy overall jobs figures, the government statistical agency said.
Total employment was up 19,000 in March. The unemployment rate, however, rose 0.1 percentage points to 6.7 percent as more people searched for work,according to Statistics Canada.
First quarter employment gains were comparable to the previous quarter but much higher than at the start of 2016.
The March jobless rate was in line with analysts’ forecasts, following a 6.6 percent unemployment rate posted in the previous month.
“Another month, another boatload of jobs for a Canadian economy that is showing plenty of momentum,” commented CIBC economist Avery Shenfeld.
“The 19K net job creation in March was nearly driven by full time gains,” he noted. “If there was a fly in the ointment, it was that self-employment, rather than hiring, accounted for nearly all of the gains.”
In March, employment increased for men aged 25 to 54. This is an continuing upward trend.
Employment rose in Alberta, Nova Scotia and Manitoba, but fell in Saskatchewan.
More people were working in manufacturing, business, building and other support services, wholesale and retail trade, and information, culture and recreation.
Statistics Canada said declines were recorded in areas including educational services, transportation and warehousing, and public administration.
Manufacturing in Canada had spiralled downward throughout 2016. But with an estimated 24,000 new manufacturing jobs created in March, the sector has clawed back all of the losses of the past 12 months.
There is still a way to go, however, to return to its heyday.
“Compared with its peak in the early 2000s, there were about 630,000 (-27 percent) fewer people working in manufacturing, and employment in the industry has been relatively flat since the 2008-2009 recession,” said Statistics Canada.—AFP