Employment edges up in March: StatsCan

Statistics Canada says March job numbers are up. (Shutterstock)

Statistics Canada says March job numbers are up. (Shutterstock)

Jessica Murphy, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 1:10 PM ET

OTTAWA — Canada's economy added 82,000 jobs in March, ending a four-month slump in the labour market, Statistics Canada's new figures show.

Most of the jobs created are full time and many are in the private sector, and the unemployment rate edged down to 7.2% from 7.4%.

"This represents the single biggest monthly jump in national job creation since September 2008," TD Economics analyst Sonya Gulati said.

Analysts had predicted just moderate job growth in March.

Gulati said the shift in growth to the private sector bodes well for the coming months as the government starts to hand out pink slips to public sector workers.

The federal government plans to cut 19,200 jobs over the next three years through attrition and layoffs.

Despite the big jump in March, Gulati said the market was simply catching up after either weak growth or job losses in recent months, and that job gains over 2012 will likely even out to an average of between 10,000 and 20,000 a month.

Gains in March were spread across a host of industries, including health care, culture and recreation and public administration. The natural resources industry -- the fastest growing in the country — continued to see strong demand for labour. Modest increases were also seen in Canada's manufacturing sector.

Most of the jobs were created in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba.

Canadian youth are still struggling to find work. The unemployment rate for 15- to 24-year-old is 13.9%, remaining essentially unchanged since July 2009.

Job growth in Canada had been soft in recent months, with February's job report showing a stalled labour market. Still, unemployment edged down that month to 7.4% from 7.6% because many Canadians had stopped looking for work.

Canada's weak job numbers in recent months have been overshadowed by growth in the U.S. labour market. In February, the U.S. economy created 227,000 jobs, with its unemployment rate remaining at 8.3%.


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