OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada added a greater-than-expected 19,400 jobs in March, most of them full-time, while the unemployment rate edged up to 6.7 per cent as more people sought work, Statistics Canada data indicated on Friday.
Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast 5,000 new positions and said the jobless rate would increase to 6.7 per cent from 6.6 per cent in February.
March marked the fourth month in a row that Canada has added jobs, the latest sign the economy is recovering from a prolonged slump caused by low oil prices.
Of the new positions, 18,400 were full-time and 1,000 were part-time. The goods sector added a net 21,800 jobs - mostly in manufacturing - while the services sector shed 2,400.
Compared with March 2016, employment increased by 276,400 jobs, or 1.5 percent.
The monthly average for job creation over the previous six months dipped to 28,900 from 36,500 in February.
But in a sign there is still slack in the economy, the hourly wages of permanent employees rose by just 0.9 percent from March 2016. Muted wage pressure in the energy-producing province of Alberta, hard hit by the oil crash, was partly responsible.
Despite indications of recovery, the Bank of Canada is maintaining a cautious line. Stephen Poloz, the bank's governor, said on March 28 that the economy had a lot more room to grow, with higher unemployment and more excess capacity than the United States.
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