Ottawa / AFP
The Canadian economy lost 2,300 jobs in February, with fresh losses in the oil-producing provinces raising unemployment to 7.3 percent, the highest level seen in three years, official data showed Friday.
The results fell short of analysts’ expectations of 10,000 new jobs and unemployment holding steady at 7.2 percent.
Although there was a slight increase in the number of people working, full-time employment dropped (51,800 less full-time jobs) and was only partially compensated by an increase in part-time jobs (49,500 extra part-time jobs), according to Statistics Canada.
The job cuts were most pronounced in health care and social assistance, educational services and natural resources.
But there were more people working in construction, business, building and other support services, as well as agriculture.
Men aged 55 and over saw unemployment gains, with 18,000 more jobs than in January, while unemployment was steady for women of the same age.
There was a 0.6 percent increase in unemployment for men and women combined aged 25 to 54.
Canada, the world’s fifth largest oil producer, has been hit hard by the drop in crude prices.
The two oil-producing provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan lost 21,000 and 7,800 jobs respectively last month.
The unemployment rate was 7.9 percent for Alberta, a half-point increase, and 5.9 percent for Saskatchewan, a 0.3 percent increase.