Statistics Canada revealed 2,300 jobs had been lost in February despite an RBC survey suggesting economists were expecting an increase of up to 10,000 jobs and a Bloomberg survey indicating an expected increase of 8,500 jobs.
A total of 51,800 full-time jobs were lost in the second month of 2016 but the disappointing figure was partially offset by an increase in part-time work as 49,500 positions were added.
While British Columbia added jobs during the month, three provinces — Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island — lost many. The other territories saw little change in their employment numbers.
“After a series of mildly upbeat economic reports in Canada, today’s jobs report crashed the party,” wrote BMO Capital Markets economist Doug Porter.
The cuts were most apparent in the health care sector, where 20,000 jobs disappeared. The education sector shed 17,000 and the natural resources sector lost 9,000.
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The Canadian economy has taken yet another knock after the unemployment rate rose to 7.3 per cent in February, taking the figure to a three-year high and flying in the face of experts who had predicted notable growth.