The Canadian economy has added 383,000 jobs since September. PHOTO courtesy Stellantis.
Employment rose by 35,000 (+0.2%) in March with the unemployment rate holding steady at 5.0%, according to Statistics Canada’s monthly jobs report.
The gain in March comes after little change in employment levels was posted in February and strong growth in January (+150,000) and December (+69,000).
Employment has generally trended up since September 2022. Over that period, the number of people employed has increased by 383,000 (+1.9%), Statistics Canada notes.
“The Bank of Canada has been rapidly raising interest rates to slow the overheated economy, but the labour market has yet to get the memo,” commented Alan Arcand, chief economist with Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters. “The unemployment rate sits near a record low, and wage growth remains brisk. While the Bank of Canada is widely expected to keep rates on hold at its next meeting on April 12th, concerns about the tight labour market mean the Bank won’t rule out the possibility that rates might rise further.”
Manufacturing however posted a 0.3% decline in jobs from February and was flat compared to March of 2022. In contrast, the jobless rate in manufacturing fell sharply from 3.8% in February to 2.9% in March, only 0.3 percentage points above the all-time low, Arcand points out.
Employment gains in March were concentrated among private sector employees (+35,000; +0.3%). There was little change in the number of public sector employees and self-employed workers. Overall, employment was unchanged among women and rose among men.
Looking at employment province by province, tmployment increased in Ontario (+21,000; +0.3%), Alberta (+14,000; +0.6%), Manitoba (+3,300; +0.5%) and Prince Edward Island (+1,700; +2.0%). There were fewer people employed in Saskatchewan (-4,300; -0.7%). There was little change in employment in the other provinces.
Total hours worked rose 0.4% in March and were up 1.6% on a year-over-year basis.
Average hourly wages rose 5.3% (+$1.68 to $33.12) on a year-over-year basis in March, compared with 5.4% in February (not seasonally adjusted).