Canada adds 19400 jobs, unemployment rate rises to 6.7 percent

One piece of good news from the March job report - the unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent, which is the lowest it's been in about a decade.

The Labor Department revised down the payroll gains in January and February by 38,000. That figure is down from the 187,000 monthly average past year.

However, the unemployment rate fell from 4.7% in February to just 4.5% - the lowest since May 2007. Adding in supervisors and executives, hourly earnings added 5 cents to $26.14.

For the first three months of the year, the economy has added an average of 178,000 net new jobs a month.

Still, some areas of the economy are humming: Developers are building more homes, with construction starts up 7.5 percent in January and February compared with a year earlier.

After President Donald Trump boasted about a hefty jobs report in February, the jobs report for March, which was released Friday, had mixed and somewhat disappointing results. The number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, was little changed at 1.7 million and accounted for 23.3% of the unemployed. Wages increased 2.7 per cent for the 12 months ended March 31.

The employment rate rose to 65 per cent last month from 64.4 per cent previous year.

Indeed chief economist Jed Kolko puts it this way: "It's not just that the unemployment rate was down, it was down for the right reason, which is that more people were getting back to work".

PNC Bank economist Gus Faucher says the job market "is getting tighter and business are finding it more hard to hire". Within the service-providing sector, employment increases included 100 in information, 400 in financial activities, 200 in educational and health services, and 500 in leisure and hospitality. For much of the recovery, wages were only growing about 2%.

The retail sector continued to struggle last month.

A decline in retail employment was a key factor that kept job growth low in March, with the sector losing 30,000 jobs for the month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

The education and healthcare services category also saw the fewest new jobs in 15 months - possibly also indicating a sluggish economy. In February 2016, the unemployment rate for the Charlottesville MSA was 3.5 percent.

  • Anthony Vega