BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group

April 05, 2012 11:06 ET

Job Numbers Show Economic Momentum-BMO Economics

- 82,300 Surge in March, After Averaging Gains of Just 3,000 in the Prior Six Months

- 4th Largest Gain in 30 Years

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 5, 2012) - Canada's March job numbers clearly show the Canadian economy still has some underlying momentum - an important factor in a time of government restraint, according to Douglas Porter, Deputy Chief Economist, BMO Capital Markets.

"The Canadian job market shook off its winter blues with authority in March, likely aided by the incredibly mild weather," said Mr. Porter. "With the fourth largest monthly job gain in the past 30 years, this could change the tone of the debate on the Bank of Canada, especially with the Bank sounding a bit more hawkish recently."

Highlights of the March employment report include:

By sector: Very mild weather across much of the country may have played a role in the huge job gains, but the industry breakdown shows broad-based gains:

  • Construction rose 8,700 jobs
  • Manufacturing had its third decent month in a row, rising 11,800
  • Health care jumped 31,500
  • Public administration rose 15,000

By region: Notably, only five of the 10 provinces saw gains in the month, led by huge increases in central Canada:

  • Ontario surged by 46,100
  • Quebec jumped 36,400, reversing much of the weakness late last year
  • All four Atlantic provinces saw job declines last month, as did B.C.
  • Manitoba had the biggest percentage increase at 1.0 per cent (6,100).
  • Similarly, only four provinces saw their jobless rates fall last month, as the better job market was heavily concentrated in the middle of the country.

"These numbers represent another sign that Canadian businesses are in good shape," said Cathy Pin, Vice-President, Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. "That said, we still strongly believe in the need for companies to continue innovating to remain competitive. We have an attractive marketplace, and it's important to keep that momentum going."

Ms. Pin reiterated that BMO has made $10 billion available to businesses across Canada over the next three years. "This money will provide small and medium-sized businesses with more certainty of available credit. It's a clear example of our ongoing confidence in them, and in the Canadian economy."

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group is a highly-diversified North American financial services organization. With total assets of $538 billion as at January 31, 2012, and more than 47,000 employees, BMO Financial Group provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

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