The National Capital Region’s public administration sector took another hit in February, helping reduce by thousands the number of people working in the capital.
Public admin, which includes those in the capital who work for the federal government, employed 140,400 people during the month. That’s down from 154,800 who worked in the sector a year earlier, according to Statistics Canada.
However the sector that includes the city’s high-tech workers grew. The information and communication technology field increased to 61,700 workers in February from 42,400 a year ago.
All in all there were 699,000 people working in the region during the month, a drop from 702,500 people employed in January.
The unemployment rate increased to 6.5 per cent from 6.4 per cent a month earlier.
However the number of people unemployed was little changed, increasing to 48,900 from 48,100 in January.
The year-over-year numbers painted a bleaker picture. The region lost 12,400 jobs in February when compared to the same month earlier, which had 711,400 people working.
The unemployment rate was lower in February of last year when it measured 6.3 per cent.
Other sectors to see a drop off in employment numbers included construction (which fell to 31,200 in February from 37,800 a year ago), retail and wholesale (83,000 from 89,200) and financial, insurance, real estate and leasing (30,100 from 37,700).
Health care and social assistance (92,600 in February from 81,900 last year), professional, scientific and technical services (81,500 from 75,800) and information, culture and recreation (39,300 from 32,800).
All of the job losses took place on the south side of the Ottawa River.
There were 526,500 people employed in Ottawa during February, a drop off from 530,200 in January. In Gatineau 172,600 people were working last month, an increase compared to 172,300 the month before.
Nationally, Statistics Canada says the economy shed about 7,000 jobs last month, although the number was tiny enough to leave the unemployment rate unchanged at 7.0 per cent.
But the decline took some of the shine off January's strong 29,000 increase and it was well below economists' expectation that about 15,000 jobs would be added last month.
February continues the pattern of up and down months in a sputtering Canadian job market.
Statistics Canada says over the past 12 months, the economy has managed to only add about 95,000 new jobs and few since August.
The bright spots in the report were that all the job losses were part time, with full-time employment actually rising by 18,900.
As well, the weakness came in the public sector, as declines in health care and social assistance, education services as well as transportation and warehousing contributed to a 51,000 dip in the labour pool.
Regionally, Quebec and British Columbia both had off employment months of 25,500 and 10,400 respectively, while Alberta and Nova Scotia saw gains of 19,000 and 2,900.
–With files from The Canadian Press