Job creation in Canada once again blew past expectations with 56,000 positions added in February — most of them were full-time.
Part-time job losses of 11,600 were offset by an increase of 67,400 full-time jobs.
Economists were calling for only 1,200 jobs. Canada even beat the disappointing U.S. February tally of 20,000 — for the first month in more than 8 years.
Combined with the 67,000 jobs added in January, the February data marks the best two-month stretch since 2012.
The jobless rate stays at 5.8 per cent as the labour force grew. Almost all of the new jobs came from Ontario, which was responsible for 59,000 full-time jobs.
The loonie jumped in the moments after the release, as the likelihood of a rate increase from the Bank of Canada crept up.
“We always take this survey with a grain of salt, and it could still be in the final stretch of catching up to the larger gains we saw last year in the more reliable payroll survey,” said Royce Mendes, senior economist at CIBC, in a research note.
“But today’s data will still have markets questioning the conviction with which a rate cut was being priced in heading into the release.
Scotiabank’s Derek Holt, Head of Capital Markets Economics, thinks job creation and wage growth will get the Bank of Canada’s attention.
“Ka-boom, so much for employers lacking confidence to be heaping on this kind of job growth,” said Holt, in a research note.
The report by Statistics Canada also shined a spotlight on the participation rate of women in the workforce.
In 1950 less than one-quarter (21.6 per cent) of women aged 25 to 54 worked. By 1991 the number went up to 75.9 per cent. In 2018 it went up to 83.2 per cent.
Statistics Canada attributes the increases to higher levels of education, delayed marriage and childbearing, and increased separation and divorce.