World Economy

Canada Unemployment Rate Steady at 6.8%

Canada Unemployment Rate Steady at 6.8%Canada Unemployment Rate Steady at 6.8%

Canada’s economy added 28,700 new jobs in March, far more than economists had been expecting.

Statistics Canada reported that most of the job gains were in part-time work. The jobless rate was unchanged at 6.8 percent, CBC News reported.

Canada’s economy lost 28,000 full-time jobs during the month, but that was offset by an increase in 57,000 part-time positions.

While not a sign of booming growth, the number was far higher than the “no change” consensus of economists surveyed, according to Bloomberg.

Given slumping oil prices, which have compelled several energy companies to lay off people, and the recent failures of a number of large retailers, the addition of almost 29,000 new jobs was a surprise for some.

“The headline Canadian employment number is much better than expected,”  Scotiabank said in a research note after the numbers came out. “There are more payroll employees and fewer self-employed in March, a trend we view as positive.”

Most of the gains were concentrated in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. All other provinces saw little change in the jobs picture, except P.E.I. and Nova Scotia, which lost jobs.

Alberta added almost 20,000 part-time jobs, but that figure was offset by a loss of 18,400 full-time jobs during the month.

  Weak Economy

The Canadian dollar will not gain back any ground against its US counterpart in the coming year as the resource-dependent economy feels the pinch of low crude oil and commodity prices, a Reuters poll found.

Canada is the world’s fifth largest producer of oil and a steep slump in its price since June last year has led to falling revenues at energy firms and pushed the currency down 10 percent in 2014. It has lost another 8 percent so far this year.

The survey of 45 foreign exchange strategists predicted the Canadian dollar will trade at C$1.26 in a month and C$1.28 by end-June. It was trading at $1.252 on Thursday.

Analysts expect the currency, known as the loonie, to hold close to C$1.27-C$1.28 between six months to a year.

“The impact from lower oil prices is going to be more pronounced and a bit more sustained in the market than the Bank of Canada seems to think at this point,” said Robert Lynch, currency strategist at HSBC.

While a lid on oil prices – US crude CLc1 is predicted to average $53.6 a barrel in 2015 – will pressure the loonie down, divergent monetary policy between Canada and the US is also cited as a major reason for the currency’s weakness.