March 6, 2020 / 1:44 PM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Canada gains surprise 30,300 jobs in February, jobless rate climbs to 5.6%

(Adds detail from report)

By Kelsey Johnson

OTTAWA, March 6 (Reuters) - Canada gained a higher-than-expected 30,300 net jobs in February while the unemployment rate rose to 5.6%, official data showed on Friday.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast a gain of 10,000 jobs in February and an unemployment rate of 5.6%. Wages for permanent employees - a metric watched closely by the Bank of Canada - rose by 4.3%, Statistics Canada said.

Canada’s central bank slashed a key interest rate on Wednesday by half a percentage point, the most in more than a decade, as it worked to try and protect Canada’s economy from an coronavirus outbreak and said it was prepared to ease further if needed. Money markets are anticipating another rate cut in April.

All the gains were in full-time jobs, Statscan said. Canada’s goods-producing industries gained 5,600 net jobs, largely on manufacturing, which offset declines in the construction and natural resources industries.

The services sector saw an increase of 24,600 net positions, primarily on gains in the wholesale and retail trade sector.

In a speech on Thursday, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said Canada’s labor market was in good health overall, adding it continued to be a good source of resilience for the economy even as an outbreak of coronavirus could seriously test Canada’s economy.

Reporting by Kelsey Johnson in Ottawa; Editing by Dale Smith and Steve Orlofsky

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