TORONTO, March 13 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened against the U.S. currency on Friday after government data showed Canada's economy shed more jobs than expected in February and the unemployment rate shot up to its highest since 2003.
Net job losses totaled 82,600 in the month, compared with forecasts for a decline of 52,500. The jobless rate climbed to 7.7 percent, the highest since a rate of 7.9 percent in September 2003 and above the market forecast of 7.4 percent. [ID:nN13253705]
"The bulk of the job losses were in the full time component which reinforces the weakness in the headline data," said George Davis, chief technical strategist at RBC Capital Markets. "All in all not a very encouraging report."
"At first Canada was able to avoid some of the initial fallout resulting from the global economic slowdown but the evidence that has come in data wise over the last three months or so is now starting to indicate we're playing a little bit of catch up to those weakening trends that we've seen in other countries," he added.
At 7:44 a.m. (1144 GMT), the currency was at C$1.2837 to the U.S. dollar, or 77.90 U.S. cents, compared with Thursday's close at C$1.2791 to the U.S. dollar, or 78.18 U.S. cents.
The Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.2786 to the U.S. dollar, or 78.21 U.S. cents just before the numbers.
Domestic bond prices were mixed with the short end slightly higher and the long end lower. Before the data, bond prices were lower across the curve. (Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson)