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Canadian job figures down in March after strong quarterly growth

The newly-released figures were below analysts' expectations, who had predicted little change this month in both employment numbers and the unemployment rate

map of canada
The total number of jobs in Canada came in at around 19 million

New data released from Statistics Canada this morning showed a decrease of 7,200 jobs in March but a steady unemployment rate of 5.8%.

The total number of jobs in Canada came in at around 19 million, up 116,000 in the first quarter of 2019 and 332,000 on a year-over-year basis.

Jobs in the natural resources sector, which is a major employer of Canadians, decreased by 5,000 during the month compared with February’s figures. The sector had gained nearly 8,000 new jobs since March 2018.

Overall, financial jobs, including insurance, real estate and leasing, saw the biggest increase with 13,000 new jobs added. On the flipside, employment declined in health care and social assistance, with a loss of 20,000 positions.

Among Canada's provinces, employment increased in Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, while it was little changed in the remaining provinces.

Expectations higher for the month

The newly-released figures were below analysts' expectations, who had predicted little change this month in both employment numbers and the unemployment rate.

Jobs growth in 2019 has helped boost investor confidence in the Canadian dollar, counteracting other data that point to a slowdown in Canada’s economy.

In recent months, however, job figures have been more volatile, leading investors to prepare for more disappointing data this month.

The Bank of Canada will take these new figures into account as it considers whether to cut interest rates this year.

--Updated with provincial and industry data--

Contact Angela at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter @AHarmantas

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