TORONTO (Reuters) - Canadian economy gained a net 30,300 jobs in February, entirely in full-time work, Statistics Canada said on Friday. The jobless rate edged up to 5.6%. Employment in the goods producing sector grew by a net 5,600 jobs, mostly in manufacturing. The services sector grew by a net 24,600 positions, mostly in wholesale and retail trade, as well as information, culture and recreation. Stories:
AVERY SHENFELD, CHIEF ECONOMIST, CIBC CAPITAL MARKETS
Canada ended the last of the pre-virus jobs reports with a flourish, as a strong month for employment and a healthy wage gain showed that everything was fine in the labor market... then. The 30K jobs gain in February continued a puzzling gap between hiring, which has looked brisk, and GDP which was already sluggish in the second half of last year and seemed likely to remain so in Q1. The jobs were in private sector paid positions, and full time, led by wholesale, retail and even factory positions. Wages for permanent workers are up 4.3%, although that series is so imperfect that the Bank of Canada gives it very little weight in assessing wage inflation. We won’t really see the major impacts of the coronavirus for a couple of months, so markets will look past all of these numbers.”
ROBERT BOTH, MACRO STRATEGIST, TD SECURITIES
“Headline employment came in three times higher than market was expecting. Wage growth was well above expectations as well... However, this report isn’t going to matter much for upcoming Bank of Canada policy decisions. Broader market sentiment, especially around spread of the coronavirus, is going to weigh much more heavily on upcoming decisions.”
“Even with the stronger report, we do still look for rate cuts at the next two (Bank of Canada) meetings.”
DOUG PORTER, CHIEF ECONOMIST, BMO CAPITAL MARKETS
“Even though I think there’s probably a big temptation on the market to pretty much ignore these figures, including the U.S. payrolls as well, I still believe there’s some important information here ... I would suggest that this is good news because it does show that the economy actually did have a bit of momentum heading into the heavy weather of the coronavirus. And you know, it gives some credence to the view that the economy could or can recover after the storm passes.”
“I think the Bank is really looking forward now instead of backward, more than usual.”
NATHAN JANZEN, SENIOR ECONOMIST, RBC
“It’s a strong report for February. Labor markets still looked pretty solid, but I’m not sure it matters at the moment. All the concerns currently are around the potential impact of the coronavirus into the spring.
“For the Bank of Canada, the labor markets look strong but they looked strong before, and we still got a 50 basis point cut. All the concerns are go-forward concerns about disruptions from the coronavirus in the spring. From that perspective this data is really backward looking, and I don’t know that it’ll have a lot of an impact on current decision making.”
Reporting by Moira Warburton, Allison Martell, Nichola Saminather and Fergal Smith; Editing by Denny Thomas
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