Over 18% of Canada’s job losses in February were in the mining industry

Despite a healthy economic growth, Canada’s economy lost 2,800 jobs in February, with at least 18% of those positions belonging to the mining sector.

According to the latest report from Statistics Canada, released this morning, the unemployment rate nonetheless didn’t change much, reaching 7.4% in February from 7.6% in January, mainly because 38,000 people dropped out of the workforce. This is the largest such move since January 2009.

The mining industry contributed with at least 18% of those loses, partly due to the closure of Electro-Motive Canada (EMC) plant in London, Ontario at the beginning of the month.

EMC, a subsidiary of heavy equipment maker Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), left about 465 workers without a job after several months of unsuccessful contract negotiations with the Canadian Auto Workers union (CAW).

According to CAW’s President Ken Lewenza another 1,700 workers employed in spin-off jobs were also affected by Caterpillar’s EMC decision.

Statistics Canada’s report, however, shows the biggest decline was registered in retail and wholesale; transportation and warehousing; health care and social assistance; and public administration.

The report comes a day after the Bank of Canada issued a more optimistic forecast for the economy but held its benchmark interest rate unchanged at 1%, says Reuters. Bank of Canada’s outlook supports analysts’ view that a rate increase may come sooner than previously expected, although is not imminent according to Reuters.

Later in the morning, United States is to report February jobs data as well.

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