WRAPUP 3-Canada trims growth outlook despite February jobs surge
* Hefty job gains signals possible Q1 growth rebound
* Six-month average shows 29,000 net new jobs per month
* Housing starts climb in Feb but cooling trend persists
* Fourth-quarter productivity up 0.1 pct
By Louise Egan
OTTAWA, March 8 (Reuters) - The Canadian government cut its forecast for 2013 economic growth on Friday, based on private sector estimates, even as new employment data for February hinted at a comeback after the two weakest quarters since the 2008-09 recession.
The weaker, near-term outlook, while expected, is another challenge for the Conservative government, which is grappling with a significant hit to revenues as it puts the final touches on its budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
The numbers will form the basis for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's fiscal projections in the next budget, expected before the end of March. Continued...