Canada’s economy shed 2,800 jobs in February, while at the same time the unemployment rate dropped to 7.4% as fewer people were looking for work, Stats Can reported on Friday. This continues a trend in slow job growth that began last summer. Year over year, employment in Canada has risen by 121,000 jobs, most of which were created in in the first six months.

Younger workers have been the hardest hit by the slowing job market. The jobless rate for people aged 15 to 24 hit 14.7 % February. Conversely, employment for workers aged 55 and up increased by 24,000 jobs last month.  

There was little change in the split between full and part time work in February. Compared with a year ago, the number of full-time workers was up 1.5% or 204,000 jobs, while the number of part-time workers declined by 2.4% or 83,000 fewer positions.



New Brunswick saw the largest decreases in employment in February with 2,600 jobs lost, while unemployment remained stagnant in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.  

By Industry


Employment increased in:

  • finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (+41,000 jobs)
  • educational services (+17,000 jobs)
  • and business, building and other support services (+16,000 jobs)

Employment decreased in:

    • retail and wholesale trade (-37,000)
    • transportation and warehousing (-22,000)
    • healthcare and social assistance (-22,000)
    • and public administration (-15,000)

Over the past year, employment increases were seen in natural resources sector with the addition of 34,000 new jobs and construction also increased by 26,000 jobs, while manufacturing saw losses of 41,000 jobs.

February marked the fifth consecutive month of disappointing employment stats, as Economists had been predicting 15,000 new jobs to be added last month.


Peter Harris