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Province's unemployment rate jumps

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The Manitoba economy shed a staggering 11,100 jobs last month, driving up the provincial unemployment rate by nearly a full percentage point to 5.8 per cent, according to the results of Statistics Canada’s latest monthly labour force survey.

The agency said today that 7,400 full-time and 3,700 part-time positions were lost in Manitoba in April. That drove down the number of employed Manitobans to 627,700 from 638,800 in March, and drove up the number of unemployed workers by 5,000 to 38,500.

It said the other 6,100 displaced workers simply dropped out of the labour force, meaning they weren’t actively seeking new jobs. So they weren’t added to the unemployed ranks.

The heavy job losses drove up the provincial unemployment rate by eight-tenths of a percentage point from 5.0 per cent in March. But despite the jump, it still remained the third lowest jobless rate in the country after Saskatchewan’s 4.0 per cent and Alberta’s 4.4 per cent.

The losses also wiped out the big job gains Manitoba saw in March, when the economy added 7,700 new positions — 6,000 part-time and 1,700 full-time.

Nationally, Canada’s economy managed to eke out a meagre 12,500 net new jobs in April. But the fact that all of them were full-time positions brought some solace to a labour force outlook that has turned sour of late.

The small pickup also helped take the sting out of March’s massive 54,500 contraction, and kept the national unemployment rate steady at 7.2 per cent. However, it was not enough to put job creation on the positive side of the ledger for 2013 as a whole.

In the first four months of the year, Canada has seen a net loss of about 13,000 workers.

Employment had been a bright spot in the economy during the recovery, with more than 900,000 new jobs added since the 2008-09 recession. But labour market performance has not been as strong in the past year as the economy has slowed.

Statistics Canada said that for the past 12 months, employment has increased by only 163,000, a rate of growth of less than one per cent.

The April jobs report was somewhat better in the details.

All the gains came in the form of new employees, rather than self-employment, and the 36,000 increase in full-time work — while most were in the public sector — is a relatively strong result.

As well, the critical manufacturing sector saw 20,600 jobs added, the most in almost a year.

Offsetting the positives, the private sector saw a net loss of 20,000 jobs and part-time work fell by 23,600.

— Staff/Canadian Press

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