OTTAWA (Reuters) — Canada shed 1,000 jobs in February, far fewer than expected, but an increase in the number of people looking for work sent the unemployment rate up to 6.8 per cent, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday.
Economists had forecast 5,000 jobs would be lost in February after an upswing in hiring the month before, while the unemployment rate had been expected to tick up to 6.7 per cent from January's 6.6 per cent.
Full-time positions increased by 34,000 jobs, but 34,900 part-time jobs were lost.
The natural resources sector, which includes oil and gas extraction, cut 16,900 jobs, with most of the losses coming in Alberta and British Columbia. Over the past two months, the sector has lost 26,000 positions.
The number of people employed in manufacturing fell by 19,900, the sector's first decline since August. The bulk of the losses occurred in Ontario and Alberta.
Overall, jobs in the goods-producing sector decreased by 24,100, while employment in the services sector increased by 23,200, helped by hiring in trade and educational services.
The labour participation rate, which the Bank of Canada watches closely, rose to 65.8 per cent from 65.7 per cent, its highest level in three months.