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Canada economy adds more jobs

OTTAWA, Canada - The Canadian economy gained 35,000 jobs in March while the unemployment rate remained stable at 5 percent, close to a record low for the fourth consecutive month, Statistics Canada said Thursday.

Job creation increased in March, after little change in February (up 22,000) and significant gains in December (up 69,000) and January (up 150,000).

"That was a stronger outcome than expected, with the consensus of forecasters looking for only a modest increase in employment," said Royce Mendes, analyst with the Desjardins Group.

Employment rose in the private sector and remained stable in the public sector and for the self-employed.

Employment growth was particularly strong in the transportation, finance and insurance sectors, but declined in construction and natural resources.

The average hourly wage for employees rose by more than 5 percent from a year ago, reaching CAD$33.12 (US$24.56) in March.

The unemployment rate has not budged since it dipped slightly in December, settling near the record low of 4.9 percent recorded in June and July.

According to Statistics Canada, most of the unemployed had been unemployed for 13 weeks or less.

The proportion of long-term unemployed, those who had been unemployed for 27 weeks or more, was 16 percent, down from 20.3 percent a year earlier. -- Agence France-Presse