After starting the year with two months of employment gains, the Canadian economy eliminated 7200 positions in March, but that did not stop it from having its best job creation quarter since the end of the year. 2017, Statistics Canada reported on Friday.
The most recent survey of the federal agency on the labor force revealed that the unemployment rate remained stable at 5.8% last month.
The decline in March follows the net monthly creation of 66,800 jobs in January and 55,900 in February – the best two-month period to start a year since 1981.
The increase in employment in the first three months of 2019 was the strongest for a quarter since the last months of 2017.
“The holiday was about to end at some point, because Canadian employment data outperformed other indicators of economic growth, so the modest decline in employment in March is not very good amazing, “said CIBC Chief Economist Avery Shenfeld.
Any prolonged decline in employment would be a matter of concern for Canada, where employment has been one of the few recurring assets in an economy that has shown signs of slowing in recent months.
Since March 2018, Canada has created 331,600 jobs, an increase of 1.8%, according to the Statistics Canada report.
The loss of 6400 full-time jobs accounted for most of the decline last month, the agency said.
The number of private sector employee positions decreased by 17,300 last month, while public sector positions increased by 4,200 and the number of self-employed increased by 6,000.
Employment among women aged 25 to 54 declined by 47,600, the largest monthly decline since 1976, when data began to be collected.
Annual average hourly wage growth for all employees was 2.4% in March, down from 2.3% in February. For permanent employees, salaries increased by 2.3%, compared with 2.25% previously.
Many experts expected the startling wave of job creation at the start of the year to slow down. According to forecasts by Thomson Reuters Eikon, economists expected on average a gain of 1,000 jobs.
Employment increased in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, while remaining essentially stable in the other provinces.
In Quebec, employment was little changed in March, as compared to the previous month as compared to 12 months earlier. The unemployment rate was 5.2%.
In New Brunswick, the number of jobs increased by 3100, while the unemployment rate decreased by 0.6 percentage points to 7.9%. Employment has increased by 5300 in the province since March 2018.