Canada added more jobs than expected in February, extending the labor market’s recent strong run as full-time hiring jumped, while fewer people looking for work sent the unemployment rate lower, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday.
The 15,300 increase in jobs last month topped economists’ expectations for a gain of 2,500.
The gain was driven by a 105,100 increase in full-time hiring, which offset a 89,800 drop in part-time positions. The gain could temper concerns about deteriorating job quality after an increase in part-time work last year.
A decrease in the participation rate to 65.8 percent saw the unemployment rate fall to 6.6 percent from 6.8 percent, which tied with January 2015 for the lowest rate since October 2008, just as the global financial crisis hit.
Hiring was strongest in the service sectors, including a 19,100 increase in retail and wholesale trade, while public administration rose by 11,900. Public administration has created 65,200 new positions since last February as federal and local government hiring has increased, Statistics Canada said.