OTTAWA – The national unemployment rate crept up to 7.3 per cent last month for the first time in three years amid flat overall job growth, Statistics Canada said Friday.
The jobless rate increased by 0.1 per cent for the third month in a row, the agency’s latest labour force survey found.
The report says the country lost 2,300 net jobs in February compared to the previous month, though the agency deemed that figure statistically insignificant.
A consensus of economists had been predicting the country to add 9,000 net jobs and for the unemployment rate to stay at 7.2 per cent, according to Thomson Reuters.
The number of net full-time positions fell by 51,800, while less-desirable part-time jobs increased by 49,500.
By sector, the agency said the net number of jobs in natural resources fell by 8,900 last month compared to January.
Services industries, meanwhile, lost 44,500 positions last month following declines in categories such as education and health care and social assistance.
The report found that Saskatchewan was among the hardest hit provinces, losing 7,800 jobs compared to the previous month and seeing its unemployment rate climb 0.3 percentage points to 5.9 per cent.
Alberta, which has suffered from the oil-price slump, saw its unemployment rate rise from 7.4 per cent to 7.9 per cent. Compared to a year earlier, employment in the province decreased 21,200 net positions or 0.9 per cent, including a drop of 56,300 full-time jobs or 2.9 per cent.
New Brunswick lost 5,700 net positions last month and saw its jobless rate move up to 9.9 per cent.
The data also showed that self-employed positions across Canada increased by 3,000 last month, while the net number of employee jobs fell by 5,300.
The number of private-sector jobs rose by 15,200, while public-sector positions declined by 20,400.
The country’s youth unemployment rate climbed to 13.3 per cent last month, from 13.0 per cent in January.