Western Alberta unemployment rate increases to 5.1 per cent

The participation rate of women in the workforce rose in February Statistics Canada said

Employment in natural resources grew by 8,000 Canada-wide in the past month, while public administration positions saw an additional 14,000 spots filled in February.

That's up from 4.8 per cent in January but down from the 5.3 per cent the rate was at the same time a year ago. The Canadian dollar jumped on the news.

The recent strength of labour market gains sent the trend (6mma) pace to 48.3k per month, the strongest it has been since 2002.

TD Bank chief economist Beata Caranci said employment has been Canada's one area of consistency - and she believes it will help put a floor under the economy.

When combined with Lethbridge and Medicine Hat, the unemployment was 5.8 per cent, up from 5.4 per cent last month.

What happened: B.C. adds 3,600 jobs in February; unemployment rate falls 0.2 percentage points to 4.5 per cent. Perhaps most encouraging was the second monthly acceleration of wages, which outpaced inflation for the first time in six months.

Canada's February surge followed an even bigger gain of 66,800 positions in January. "I think the Bank is pretty much on hold and this shows the economy has some underlying resilience", he said, adding a rate cut was unlikely "any time soon". The U.S. Labor Department on Friday reported a 20,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls for February.

The Canadian dollar also benefited from the job gain, as it went up about half a cent when the numbers were released.

The labor force increased by 55,100 in February, and is up by 159,000 so far this year.

"A total of 67,400 full-time positions were added during the month but 11,600 part-time jobs were shed, accounting for the 56,000 net total". The jobless rate was unchanged at 5.8 percent as more people joined the labor market.

Even the wage picture is looking better.

Year-over-year average hourly wage growth in February for permanent employees was 2.3 per cent, which was up from a reading of 1.8 per cent for January. Despite the generally positive details of today's report, aggregate hours worked fell for a third straight month, down 0.7% month-on-month.

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