Canada sees second straight monthly employment surge with 55,900 net new jobs

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In an economy with more than half a million vacant jobs, many seem to be finding work.

Within the province, the highest unemployment rate in February was 16.5 per cent, in the region that includes Campbellton and Miramichi.

The surge followed an even bigger gain of 66,800 positions in January.

However, Alberta's oil and gas sector wasn't actually a contributing factor in the increased unemployment rate, as that industry saw an increase in 2,600 jobs over the past month.

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The Canadian increase even outpaced job creation in the United States, where figures showed an increase of just 20,000 new positions last month.

Employment in Ontario rose for the second consecutive month in February, up by 37,000, boosted by a gain of 59,000 full-time jobs; the unemployment rate in the province remained at 5.7%.

"A total of 67,400 full-time positions were added during the month but 11,600 part-time jobs were shed, accounting for the 56,000 net total".

The report by Statistics Canada also shined a spotlight on the participation rate of women in the workforce.

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Alberta's employment level was mostly unchanged from January and last February, but the agency says the number of people looking for work has increased, pushing the provincial unemployment rate up to 7.3 percent. The sector employed 43,400 people in February, according to Statistics Canada, up from 42,500 a month earlier - its sixth consecutive month of gains.

Overall, the increase was led by a gain of 46,200 positions the services sector, largely concentrated in the categories of professional, scientific and technical services, public administration and wholesale and retail trade.

The Bank of Canada's benchmark interest rate is at 1.75 percent.

In addition, the Ontario Government said in a release that Kitchener-Waterloo-Barrie has the largest employment growth year-over-year across the province at seven per cent growth.

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Year-over-year average hourly wage growth in February for permanent employees was 2.3 per cent, which was up from a reading of 1.8 per cent in January. Over the past year, employment in the industry has grown by 6.8 per cent.

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