OTTAWA – The economy added 15,400 net new jobs last month and the unemployment rate edged down to 5.8 per cent – but the gains were due to a surge in part-time work that offset a decline in full-time positions.
Statistics Canada’s latest labour force survey also says the job gains in February were driven by an increase of 50,300 in public-sector jobs.
Compared with 12 months earlier, the overall job market added 282,500 positions for an increase of 1.5 per cent – and all of that year-over-year growth came from full-time work.
For February, the report also found that average hourly wage growth, which has been scrutinized by the Bank of Canada ahead of interest-rate decisions, stayed solid at 3.1 per cent.
Last month’s job growth, while small enough to be statistically insignificant, represents an improvement over the January report that showed a drop of 88,000 positions for the labour force’s steepest one-month drop in nine years.
The February numbers nudged the unemployment rate down to 5.8 per cent from 5.9 per cent in January.