Canada's Unemployment Stays at 5.8%

Canada's job growth topped the most optimistic forecasts for a second straight month in February and wages kept surging, as gains by service providers offset losses in manufacturing., Bloomberg 3/7/2008 7:23:01 AM

Payrolls rose by 43,300 last month after a 46,400 gain in January, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. The jobless rate remained 5.8 percent, matching a 33-year low set in October. The job gain was more than double the highest forecast in a Bloomberg News survey of 21 economists, which had a median estimate of 3,000.

Canada's dollar strengthened after the report, as investors speculated consumer spending may help the economy weather a slump in exports to the U.S. The Bank of Canada cut its benchmark rate half a point on March 4, the most since 2001, and may ease by a quarter of a point at each of the next two meetings, said economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Hiring in the service industry rose by 55,800 in February, while employment fell by 12,500 for goods-producing companies, Statistics Canada said.

About 20,800 people found work in construction, another 15,800 were hired in public administration and 15,600 started professional and scientific jobs.

The job and wage gains won't deter the Bank of Canada from cutting borrowing costs again on April 22, perhaps by another 50 basis points, said Stewart Hall, an economist for HSBC Securities Canada Inc. in Toronto.