The unemployment rate rose to 8 percent from 7.7 percent in February after employers pared a net 61,300 workers, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa.
The world’s eighth-largest economy is shrinking as a global financial crisis saps orders for Canada’s lumber, automobiles and metals and a drop in commodity prices reduces income. Today’s numbers increase the urgency for the government and Bank of Canada to take additional measures to improve conditions in credit markets, said Derek Holt, an economist with Scotia Capital in Toronto.
More than 2 percent of the country’s workers -- a total of 356,600 -- have lost their jobs since October, the fastest pace of employment decline since 1982.
The manufacturing and construction industries led declines in employment last month, with factories cutting 34,200 jobs to bring losses since October to 134,400. Construction firms pared 18,200 workers in March, the statistics agency said. Nearly 8 percent of construction workers, -- a total of 98,800 -- have lost their jobs since October.
Employers reduced full-time payrolls by 79,500 positions in March, Statistics Canada said today. Part-time jobs rose by 18,200.
Average hourly wages grew 4.3 percent from a year earlier, Statistics Canada said, picking up from a pace of 3.9 percent in February.