Employers pared a net 82,600 workers, following January's record decline of 129,000, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. The unemployment rate rose to 7.7 percent from 7.2 percent. Economists predicted total jobs would fall by 55,000 in February and the unemployment rate would be 7.4 percent, according to Bloomberg News surveys.
The world's eighth-largest economy is shrinking as a global credit crisis and a drop in commodity prices saps orders for Canada's lumber, automobiles and metals. The jobless rate will reach 9 percent in the fourth quarter, say economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, which would be the highest since June 1997 and lower than a peak of 12.1 percent in November 1992.
Employers reduced full-time payrolls by 110,900 positions in February. Part-time jobs rose by 28,300.
Construction employment fell by 43,200, followed by a loss of 31,100 in professional, scientific and technical services, Statistics Canada said. Manufacturing employment rose by 24,700.
Average hourly wages grew by 3.9 percent from a year earlier, Statistics Canada said, slower than the 4.8 percent pace in January.
Unemployment in Alberta, which had benefited from construction of new pipelines and oil sands facilities, rose to 5.4 percent, the highest in almost six years. In Ontario, the country's manufacturing hub, the jobless rate rose to 8.7 percent, the highest since 1997.