Story by The Globe and Mail

Canadian employment was little changed in February and the jobless rate jumped to a five-month high as the impact of an oil shock began to hit the Alberta labour force.

Nationwide employment fell by 1,000 positions, and the jobless rate rose to 6.8 percent, the highest since September, from 6.6 percent in January, Statistics Canada said Friday in Ottawa. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News expected a decline of 5,000 jobs and a 6.7 percent jobless rate.

The data suggest the effects of falling oil prices are beginning to show up in the nation’s employment market. Jobs in the natural resource sector were down 16,900 last month. Alberta, home to the bulk of Canada’s proven oil reserves, posted a 14,000 decline in employment and its highest jobless rate since 2011, rising 0.8 percentage points to 5.3 percent.

By industry, the biggest decline nationally was the 19,900 positions lost in manufacturing, followed by the natural resource sector. Construction and education were the biggest gainers during the month. Average hourly wages rose 1.8 percent in February from a year earlier.

Across the country, part-time positions fell by 34,900 in February, while full-time employment increased by 34,000.

Workers designated by Statistics Canada as employees fell by 4,600 and the self-employed category increased by 3,600.

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