UPDATE 1-Canada sheds 2,100 jobs in April as Alberta weighs

Fri May 6, 2016 8:53am EDT
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OTTAWA May 6 (Reuters) - The Canadian labor market stalled in April as the oil-hit province of Alberta shed still more jobs in the natural resource sector, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday.

Canada lost 2,100 jobs last month, worse than economists' forecasts that the labor force would be unchanged after a strong gain in March. That kept the unemployment rate at 7.1 percent as participation edged down to 65.8 percent from 65.9 percent.

Alberta fared the worst, losing 20,800 jobs, including 8,400 in the natural resource sector. The province's unemployment rate edged up above the national average to 7.2 percent, even as Albertans dropped out of the labor force.

The province, where the country's vast oil sands are located, has suffered because of lower resource prices. It has been battling a massive wildfire this week.

A decline in goods-producing jobs weighed on Canada as a whole, with the manufacturing sector losing 16,500 positions. Since December, the industry has lost 52,000 jobs, about half of which were in Alberta, the statistics agency said.

Natural resource jobs were down in Canada by 7,800. Since its peak in April 2014, the sector has lost 50,000 positions, with most of the declines in Alberta.

(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)