Canada added 56,000 mostly full-time jobs in February, but the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.8 percent, the government statistical agency said Friday.
Coming on the heels of a jobs surge at the start of the year, economists had forecast a slight drop in the unemployment rate.
But only Ontario -- the most populous region and an economic hub -- saw an uptick in jobs in the month, according to Statistics Canada.
The Western prairie province of Manitoba shed 3,300 net jobs, while others saw no real change.
"Is the Canadian economy a dead parrot, or like the one in the Monty Python skit, maybe it's just resting, since today's jobs data seem to suggest that there's a lot of life left in it," CIBC Capital Markets chief economist Avery Shenfeld mused in a research note.
Following a string of interest rate hikes over the past year from a near record low, and then a pause, Shenfeld said the latest job numbers and other recent economic data could put pressure on the Bank of Canada to resume raising rates -- eventually. "While there's nothing in this that spells a rate hike any time soon, the market might rethink the idea that the next move is sure to be a cut," he said.
According to Statistics Canada, more people were employed in professional, scientific and technical services; public administration; natural resources; and agriculture in February.
At the same time, there were fewer workers in hotel and food services, as well as transportation and warehousing.