* C$ at C$1.0048 vs US$, or 99.52 U.S. cents * Survey sees 15,000 new Canadian jobs * Bond prices rise across curve * C$ expected to weaken against US$ in year ahead-poll By Solarina Ho TORONTO, May 8 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar held steady against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday after rallying to its strongest level since mid-February in the previous session as traders looked to Friday's domestic employment data to drive direction. The currency rallied on Tuesday along with global equity markets on signals that top central banks would keep supporting economic growth. "It's a generally quiet week until Friday. I think Friday, there's some scope for some volatility in the FX space. But until then, it's probably going to be range-bound," said Mazen Issa, macro strategist at TD Securities. The currency had little reaction to Canadian data that showed housing starts slipped in April from March. The number of starts was in line with the median forecast of analysis polled by Reuters. The Canadian dollar was at C$1.0048 against the U.S. dollar, or 99.52 U.S. cents at 9:14 a.m. (1314 GMT), little changed from Tuesday's finish at C$1.0044 to the U.S. dollar, or 99.56 U.S. cents. It held within a range between C$1.0039 and C$1.0059. Canada's dollar was underperforming against most other major currencies, though it traded at its strongest level against the New Zealand dollar since mid-March. New Zealand's central bank confirmed on Wednesday it was selling its own currency, reflecting concerns that a flood of global money could undermine a budding economic recovery. Friday's Canadian employment report is expected to show the economy added 15,000 jobs in April, while the unemployment rate held steady at 7.2 percent, according to a Reuters survey of analysts. Over the longer term, the Canadian dollar is expected to weaken against the greenback in the year ahead, according to a Reuters poll published on Wednesday. Forecasters cited concern about the economy's slow rate of growth compared to that of the United States. Prices for Canadian government bonds were generally higher across the curve. The two-year bond rose half a Canadian cent to yield 0.977 percent, while the benchmark 10-year bond edged up 2 Canadian cents to yield 1.822 percent.