Canada’s economy created twice as many jobs as expected in March and the unemployment rate dropped for the first time this year, but private-sector and full-time hiring remained weak in a sign businesses remain cautious amid a slack economy.
The report adds to recent data showing the economy is strengthening after a weak path in December and at the start of 2014, but is unlikely to knock the Bank of Canada off its neutral stance on interest rates, analysts said.
Statistics Canada reported on Friday that the job market added 42,900 net new positions in the month, compared with market expectations of 20,000. The jobless rate dipped to 6.9 percent from 7.0 percent.
The six-month moving average for employment growth stood at 9,700 in March, up from 3,400 in February. Overall, the pace of job creation in Canada has been slowing, averaging 8,300 per month in 2013, less than one-third of the 2012 average.
“One month does not a trend make because this came after a long stretch of non-existent hiring,” said Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC World Markets.
“We still have some catch-up to do then for employment to match up with economic growth over the prior year,” he said.