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Employment Recovers Slightly in February, Wages Continue to Improve

Mar 09, 2018

The Conference Board of Canada’s Economist Cory Renner offers the following perspectives/insights on today's Labour Force Survey data release:


“The most recent Labour Force Survey was reflective of the economic news received over the past few months: some weak indicators coupled with some positive news. After shedding 88,000 jobs last month, employment growth was positive but the pull back in full-time employment was disappointing. On the other hand, wage growth remains robust. Overall, the latest employment report will do nothing to sway the Bank of Canada’s cautious approach to removing monetary stimulus reinforcing our expectation that interest rates will rise just once more this year.”
—Cory Renner, Economist, The Conference Board of Canada


  • Employment rose by 15,400 jobs in February, after falling by 88,000 in the previous month.The gain was led by part-time jobs, as full-time positions declined by 39,300.
  • The unemployment rate fell to 5.8 per cent as the labour force grew only slightly during the month.
  • Employment was largely unchanged for most provinces. Ontario’s 15,700 new jobs was the largest gain of any province, while British Colombia’s loss of 3,400 was the largest decline.
  • Average hourly wages were 3.1 per cent higher in February compared with the same month last year. This is a slight deceleration from January’s 3.3 per cent pace, though still a solid gain.
  • Gains in hourly wages were led by British Columbia (5.1 per cent year over year) and Alberta (3.6 per cent). As expected, Ontario’s minimum wage also appears to be boosting wages somewhat as year-over-year hourly wages are up 3.5 per cent over the same period.
  • Nationally, wage gains were about even between the service sector (up 3.1 per cent year over year) and goods (up 3.1 per cent). However, the national number is skewed by Ontario’s strong gains in goods producing sectors (up 4.2 per cent).