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Canada adds 30,300 jobs in February

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The Canadian economy added 30,300 jobs in February — well ahead of the 11,000 expected.

The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 5.6 per cent as the labour force grew, according to new data from Statistics Canada.

“All of the increase was in full-time, private-sector jobs, so no asterisks on this report, with the gains split between goods and service industries,” said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO, in a note.

Quebec had a strong month with 20,000 new jobs. Its unemployment rate is down to an all-time low of 4.5 per cent and the lowest in the country.

Today’s report is something of a backward indicator because conditions have deteriorated in recent weeks over fears of a spreading COVID-19, central banks cutting interest rates, and the effects of rail blockades.

“We will need to wait for March data to assess the true initial impact of the outbreak on hiring confidence,” said Derek Holt, head of Capital Markets Economics at Scotiabank, in a note.

But Doug Porter is heartened by today’s data.

“The tendency would be to quickly brush this report off as yesterday's story—"oh, so last month,” said Porter.

“But the broad gains and solid wage increases do indicate that the economy was still grinding forward in the weeks before the COVID-19 storm. And, frankly, that's good news.”

Jessy Bains is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jessysbains.

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