Harper sees surge in jobless rate

Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:52pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday he expects the jobless rate to rise further this year as the recession deepens.

"We are seeing and are expecting a surge of unemployment this year," Harper told reporters in London, Ontario.

His comments came after the government reported on Friday that the economy shed 82,600 jobs in February, more than forecast. The unemployment rate climbed to 7.7 percent, the highest since September 2003.

"It doesn't change our assessment that when the global economy does recover, all the demographic indications are that we will have labor shortages," he said.

(Reporting by Louise Egan; Editing by Frank McGurty)