OTTAWA – Canada’s unemployment rate remained at 6.8 per cent in March as more people found part-time work, Statistics Canada said Friday.
The federal agency’s latest labour market survey says the country’s jobless rate was unchanged from the previous month, and it registered a month-to-month net gain of nearly 29,000 jobs.
The gain was driven by more people finding part-time work, Statistics Canada said. Over the first quarter of the year, the economy has gained 63,000 jobs, which the agency says are mostly part-time positions.
But the agency also notes that since last March, the economy has gained 138,000 mostly full-time jobs.
Statistics Canada says more people found jobs in retail and wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, educational services and natural resources in March, while there were fewer people working in construction, public administration and agriculture.
The unemployment rate matched the consensus projection of economists, who also predicted no new jobs would be created for the month, according to Thomson Reuters.
The survey says Saskatchewan saw its first notable increase in employment since September, as the jobless rate fell 0.6 percentage points to 4.4 per cent in March and the province gained 7,000 jobs.
There was little change from last month in energy-rich Alberta, the survey says, with gains in part-time work offsetting lost full-time jobs.
Statistics Canada also noted a spike in the number of older women who found jobs in March. There were 18,000 more women aged 55 and older working in March. There was little change in the number of men in the same age group who were working.
The agency says that over the past year, most of the increase in total employment has been among people aged 55 and older – up 96,000, or 2.8 per cent.