WRAPUP 3-Canada posts worst monthly job losses in more than four years

Fri Apr 5, 2013 11:20am EDT
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* Canada unexpectedly sheds 54,500 jobs in March

* February trade deficit rises to C$1.02 billion

* Canadian dollar sinks on weak figures

* PMI data for March better than expected

By David Ljunggren

OTTAWA, April 5 (Reuters) - Canada posted its worst monthly jobs loss in more than four years in March, another sign the economy is struggling to cope with weak foreign markets and a strong Canadian dollar.

Canada shed 54,500 positions in March, more than wiping out the 50,700 jobs that were added in February, Statistics Canada said on Friday. Market operators had expected a modest gain of 8,500 jobs.

It was the biggest monthly jobs loss since February 2009, when the economy shed 69,300 positions. The March unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent from 7.0 percent.

"This was a lot weaker than expected ... so far this year it is pointing to weakening employment relative to strong gains in the second half of last year," said Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist at Royal Bank of Canada.   Continued...