Employment rose by 51,000 in February following a slight decline the previous month, according to Statistics Canada. This increase was spread between full- and part-time work. The unemployment rate remained at seven per cent as more people participated in the labour force.
Compared with 12 months earlier, employment grew by 1.9 per cent or 336,000, predominantly in full-time work. Over the same period, the total number of hours worked also increased by 1.9 per cent.
Provincially, employment increased in Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, while Manitoba saw a decline, said the Labour Force Survey.
Employment gains were in professional, scientific and technical services; accommodation and food services; public administration; and agriculture. Manufacturing was the lone industry to post a notable decline.
In February, there were more people working as employees (39,000), while the number of self-employed was little changed. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of private sector employees rose by 236,000 or 2.1 per cent, and public sector employment increased by 72,000 or two per cent. Self-employment was little changed over the same period.
Employment increased among people aged 55 and over, while it was little changed among youths and people aged 25 to 54, said Statistics Canada.
Employment gains in several provinces
Employment in Ontario rose by 35,000 in February, led by gains among youths. But the unemployment rate remained at 7.7 per cent as more people participated in the labour force. Year-over-year gains were 1.7 per cent, slightly below the national growth rate of 1.9 per cent.
Following a decline the previous month, employment in B.C. increased by 20,000 in February. As more people participated in the labour force, the unemployment rate remained at 6.3 per cent. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province was little changed, said Statistics Canada.
Employment rose by 3,000 in Nova Scotia and the unemployment rate was 9.3 per cent in February. However, compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province was down 1.4 per cent.
In New Brunswick, the number of workers increased by 2,900, pushing the unemployment rate down 1.2 percentage points to 10.1 per cent. On a year-over-year basis, employment was little changed.
Employment in Manitoba declined by 3,200 in February and the unemployment rate stood at 4.9 per cent, as fewer people participated in the labour force. Despite the decline, employment grew by 1.9 per cent on a year-over-year basis, said Statistics Canada.
Employment in Quebec was little changed in February, and the unemployment rate rose 0.3 percentage points to 7.4 per cent. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment increased by 2.9 per cent.
While employment in Saskatchewan was little changed in February, "robust" growth over the past 12 months (up 4.3 per cent) pushed the unemployment rate down 1.1 percentage points over the period to 3.8 per cent in February, the lowest since November 2008 and the lowest among all provinces.
Employment up in the services sector
In February, employment in professional, scientific and technical services rose by 26,000, returning to a level similar to that of 12 months earlier, said the government report.
Employment in accommodation and food services increased by 21,000, bringing year-over-year employment growth in this industry to three per cent.
Public administration employment rose for the second consecutive month, up 16,000. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in this industry increased by 2.7 per cent.
In agriculture, employment increased by 7,300 in February and was up 5.6 per cent compared with February 2012.
The number of workers in manufacturing declined by 26,000. Employment growth in the spring of 2012 was offset by a slight downward trend since the summer, leaving employment in this industry little changed compared with 12 months earlier.
Employment still rising among people 55 and over
Among people aged 55 and over, employment increased for the second consecutive month, up 32,000 in February and mostly among men. Compared with 12 months earlier, employment among people in this age group rose by 171,000 (5.4 per cent), partly a result of population aging, said Statistics Canada.
While employment among people aged 25 to 54 was little changed in February, it was up by 116,000 (one per cent) on a year-over-year basis.
Among youths aged 15 to 24, employment was little changed and the unemployment rate was 13.6 per cent. Employment among youths has been on a slight upward trend since August 2012, said the government.