Canada’s labor market eked out 15,400 new jobs in February but continued to struggle as the number of full-time jobs contracted by nearly 40,000, according to a government report released Friday.
February’s job gains nudged the unemployment rate down slightly from 5.9 to 5.8 percent, but were concentrated entirely in part-time and public sector jobs.
Part-time jobs were up by 54,700 positions, while full-time jobs declined for the first time in six months, losing 39,300 positions, according to Statistics Canada. The decline in full-time employment follows a terrible January, which saw an overall job loss of 88,000.
Additionally, the public sector accounted for nearly all of February’s job gains — 50,300 government jobs were added in February, compared to just 8,000 in the private sector, reports CBC News. Economists say the tepid private sector job growth is a problem because increasing employment through the public sector is not fiscally sustainable, particularly when many governments are already running large budget deficits.
Another worrying sign for the Canadian economy is that job growth was concentrated in lower-paying service occupations, which added 25,900 jobs. By contrast, the overall goods-producing sector suffered a net loss of 10,400 positions, led by a decline of 16,500 jobs in manufacturing, reports the Toronto Star.
Canada’s recent job market performance contrasts with the U.S., which added 313,000 non-farm jobs in February, the 89th straight month of job growth. The U.S. unemployment rate now stands at 4.1 percent, the lowest since 2000.
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