A worker smooths concrete at a construction site in Toronto on January 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

A worker smooths concrete at a construction site in Toronto on January 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Economy adds 303,000 jobs in March, unemployment rate falls, Statistics Canada says

95,000 more retail jobs

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says the economy added 303,000 jobs in in March as employment increased, with gains in sectors hardest hit by public health restrictions.

In March, Statistics Canada says there were about 95,000 more retail jobs, fully recouping losses sustained in January lockdowns, and an employment bump of 21,000 in the accommodation and food services sector.

The figure released this morning outpaced the 259,000 gain seen in February that, at the time, whipped past expectations.

The March increase puts employment 296,000 shy of the pre-COVID level in February 2020, or roughly 1.5 per cent of pre-crisis levels.

It also sent the unemployment rate to 7.5 per cent, down from 8.2 per cent in February, bringing the rate to a pandemic-era low.

The jobs numbers come just over a week before the federal Liberals release a budget where employment levels are expected to be used as a gauge for planned stimulus measures.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2021.

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