Statistics Canada has just released its monthly Labour Force Survey and the news for March is surprisingly good. While economists had predicted modest growth of 6,000-7,000 new jobs to be created, the Canadian economy actually added 82,000 positions last month. This edges the overall unemployment rate down to 7.2%.

Most of the jobs created were full-time positions. This unexpected growth follows four months of nearly stagnant job creation. Compared with March of 2011, Canadian employment has risen by 197,000 new jobs or 1.1%.

Industry Changes

There were 32,000 jobs gained in social assistance and healthcare last month, 28,000 new jobs in information, culture and recreation and 15,000 jobs added in public administration.

Employment was also up in the booming natural resources sector. Manufacturing and construction also saw gains last month. The standout area to see declines was in education, a sector which lost 25,000 jobs in March.



Ontario and Quebec were the big winners in March, with the Ontario economy adding 46,000 new jobs, while Quebec added 36,000 positions. Manitoba also saw job gains. The Maritimes fared less well with New Brunswick losing 5,700 jobs and Nova Scotia shedding 2,900. Alberta remained little changed last month, but that province has added 65,000 new jobs since March of 2011.

Workopolis Numbers

A quick scan of the job postings on Workopolis shows similar trends. Both Alberta and Saskatchewan have seen big increases in job postings on our site compared to this time last year.

Quebec has also seen a recent increase in job postings, (although on Workopolis they are still down from last year at this time.) In Ontario we’re seeing some recent growth, but are also still slightly down from where we were last March.

Customer service, student jobs and part-time jobs continue to be among the top of our list of keyword searches by candidates, indicating that youth are actively search for jobs during and out of school. While younger Canadians have been the hardest hit by unemployment, last month saw some good news for this group as well. Statistics Canada indicates that 39,000 new jobs were created for people aged 15 to 24 in March.