Peace Region unemployment rate second-best in Alberta

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Canada's employment gains were even stronger than those south of the border.

The February surge follows a gain of 66,800 positions in January to give Canada its strongest two-month stretch of job creation since the spring of 2012 - and its best two-month start to a year since 1981, when Pierre Trudeau headed the government.

"It was a great report card for the Canadian jobs market and it flies in the face of some of the other statistics that we've been seeing lately out of Canada", said Scott Smith, managing partner at Viewpoint Investment Partners.

The encouraging numbers provided a bright spot for the economy, which has posted disappointing data in recent months.

Statistics Canada also reported that participation by women in the workforce was up.

"We're going to continue to do stuff like this to generate more employment, to continue to invest in infrastructure generally and continue to fight to get the pipeline to tidewater in order to build that level of investor confidence that will move us forward". Reinforced by both the weak end to 2018 and Bank communication this week, solid job trends over the a year ago have not been translating into consumer spending. The central bank has since cast doubts about future rate hikes and has warned the ongoing slump could last through the first half of 2019 - longer than it had anticipated.

Caranci said the Bank of Canada will likely view the February numbers "as a positive sign and a bit of a relief". For the third time in four months, the number of positions increased notably.

However, Alberta's oil and gas sector wasn't actually a contributing factor in the increased unemployment rate, as that industry saw an increase in 2,600 jobs over the past month.

The goods-producing sectors added 9,500 new positions following job gains in natural resources, agriculture and manufacturing.

Wages accelerated again, rising 2.2% for permanent employees (January: + 1.8%). It's a key reason why the Bank of Canada is sticking to its belief the economy will rebound and interest rates will likely head higher.

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