Jobless rate remains at 8.2%

Statistics Canada said Friday the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.2 per cent in March as the economy added 17,900 jobs.

That's less than the 26,000 additional jobs and 8.1 per cent unemployment rate that economists had been expecting.

Full-time employment fell by 14,200 in the month, with all the gains coming in the part-time category, where 32,000 new jobs were created.

Still, the trend continues towards job creation, as the data agency notes that Canada's economy has added 176,000 net full-time jobs since July.

Private-sector employment increased by 42,400 in March, more than offsetting the 20,600 jobs lost in the public sector. "This is a trend we should get accustomed to as governments keep a lid on spending," BMO economist Benjamin Reitzes said.

Employment edged up in Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan in March, while there was little change in all other provinces.

As has been the case in the past several months, women aged 25 to 54 and men over the age of 55 saw the most job gains while youth, men aged 25 to 54 and women aged 55 and over saw little change in the number of net jobs.

Loonie sinks

After trading as high as 100.01 cents US on Friday in anticipation of the jobs report, the loonie quickly sank to 99.54 cents on the report's release.

Its mildly disappointing news sparked a wave of Canadian dollar sales that quickly took the currency down below parity.