The Canadian economy lost 7,000 jobs in March but the unemployment rate remained at 5.8 percent, the government statistical agency reported on Friday.
The percentage of jobless is slightly above December's 5.6 percent, which was a 42-year-low. Analysts at CIBC bank had forecast a loss of 10,000 jobs compared with the previous month, and had expected unemployment to hold steady.
"The party had to end at some point, since Canadian jobs data had outrun other signposts of economic growth so dramatically, making the small retreat in employment in March not much of a surprise," said Avery Shenfeld, a CIBC economist. "The 7K drop in employment comes on the heels of huge job gains in January-February."
Statistics Canada said employment declined in healthcare and social assistance; in business, building and other support services; and in accommodation and food services. "More people were working in the finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing industry, and in public administration," it added.
Despite an increase in employment in the prairie province of Saskatchewan as well as New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island in Atlantic Canada, it was "little changed" in the other seven provinces, the agency said.