Western Alberta unemployment rate increases to 5.1 per cent

The jobless rate stays at 5.8 per cent as the labour force grew.

The February surge follows a gain of 66,800 positions in January to give Canada its strongest two-month stretch of job creation since the spring of 2012 - and its best two-month start to a year since 1981, when Pierre Trudeau headed the government.

According to Statistics Canada, Canada's economy added almost 60,000 jobs this February, with the majority being in Ontario. Employment may be on a tear, but despite all the new jobs, Canadians are working fewer hours in aggregate.

The recent strength of labour market gains sent the trend (6mma) pace to 48.3k per month, the strongest it has been since 2002.

The Bank of Canada keeps close watch of several wage indicators ahead of policy decisions on its key interest rate.

According to BC Stats, the province saw job gains in fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas, up 2,500 jobs, and in retail and wholesale trade, up 3,500 jobs. "Maybe it's just resting, since today's jobs data seem to suggest that there's a lot of life left in it".

It's down two-tenths of a point from last month's rate of 4.7 percent, and the only province in Canada where the rate is under 5 percent. Perhaps most encouraging was the second monthly acceleration of wages, which outpaced inflation for the first time in six months.

The unemployment rate in New Brunswick rose to 8.5 per cent in February after the loss of 900 full-time jobs. Much of the increase in Canada's population comes from worldwide working-age migrants. "And so, every time you think that there's no more workers to hire, there's more workers that seem to get hired".

Canada's employment gains were even stronger than those south of the border. The Canadian dollar strengthened against the USA dollar on Friday after Canadian CPI data showed an increase in core inflation. The Canadian dollar strengthened to 1.3391 to the USA dollar, or 74.68 U.S. cents, after the jobs data.

The labor force increased by 55,100 in February, and is up by 159,000 so far this year. The unemployment rate held firm last month at 5.8 per cent as more people hunted for work.

Wages accelerated again, rising 2.2% for permanent employees (January: + 1.8%).

  • Wendy Palmer