Canada's unemployment rate fell to 9 per cent in September, down from the peak of 13.7 per cent in May. (Patrick Kelley/Bloomberg)

Canada sheds 7,200 jobs in March: Statistics Canada

The Canadian economy lost 7,200 jobs in March on the heels of six months of continuous job growth, Statistics Canada data showed on Friday.

Despite the loss, Statistics Canada’s labour force survey found the unemployment rate held firm last month at 5.8 per cent.

The March decline follows monthly increases of 66,800 net new jobs in January and 55,900 in February — which was the country’s best two-month start to a year since 1981.

“Nothing ever lasts forever, particularly in the volatile world of Canadian labour force statistics,” said Andrew Grantham, Senior Economist at CIBC Capital Markets, in a note.

“So after a run of six consecutive employment gains, in which nearly 300,000 jobs were added to the total, it was little surprise to see a modest give-back of 7,000 in March.”

The decline in March numbers reinforced market expectations that the Bank of Canada will keep interest rates unchanged next month.

“For the Bank of Canada, this one report won’t make much of a dent, but fits well with their newfound cautious outlook,” Douglas Porter, chief economist at BMO, wrote in a note.

The decline in employment during March was focused mainly on full time and private sector employment. The services sectors of business, building and support, health care and accommodation and food services saw the largest monthly declines, the report said.

With files from The Canadian Press

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