Full-time jobs suffer further losses in February

83,000 jobs lost, pushing unemployment rate to 7.7 per cent

Employment fell for the fourth consecutive month in February, down 83,000, bringing total losses since the peak of last October to 295,000. The decrease pushed the unemployment rate up 0.5 percentage points to 7.7 per cent.

All of the employment losses in February were for full-time positions, while part-time employment edged up slightly. In February, the largest decline in employment occurred in Ontario (down 35,000), followed by Alberta (24,000) and Quebec (18,000). Ontario’s unemployment rate rose 0.7 percentage points to 8.7 per cent — the highest since April 1997 — while Quebec’s rate edged up 0.2 percentage points to 7.9 per cent and Alberta’s climbed a full percentage point to 5.4 per cent — the highest in almost six years

Men aged 25 to 54 were particularly hard hit by February’s employment decline (down 66,000). Since the start of the labour market downturn, employment among core-age men has fallen by 170,000 or 2.7 per cent. Employment among 15 to 24 year-olds also continued to trend down in February (by 29,000). The unemployment rate for youths was 14.2 per cent in February, up two percentage points from last October.

Construction suffered the most, accounting for more than one-half of the decline in February. While the industry had the fastest growth from January to October 2008 (up 4.9 per cent), it has since experienced the steepest decline (down 6.4 per cent).There were also losses in professional, scientific and technical services; educational services; and natural resources.

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