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Payrolls declined but job vacancies rose in February, according to Statistics Canada.

The national statistical agency reported total payroll employment declined by 0.1% in the month, partially reversing a 0.2% increase in January.

Payrolls shrank in seven out of 20 industry sectors, led by the accommodation and food services sector, the manufacturing industry, and retail trade.

Some of those declines were offset by rising employment in the financial sector, led by gains for firms in the credit intermediation business (up 0.8%) and the securities and commodities trading industry (up 0.9%).

Year over year, payroll employment in finance was up by 14,200 (1.7%) in February.

Despite the overall decline in February on a monthly basis, payroll employment was still up by 0.9% year over year, representing 154,700 workers, StatsCan noted.

Job vacancies rose by 21,800 in February from January, an increase of 3.4% to 656,700. As a result, total labour demand — the combination of filled and open jobs — increased by 0.5% over the same period, StatsCan said.

Average weekly earnings also increased in February, rising 0.5% for the second consecutive month.

And, on a year-over-year basis, average weekly earnings were up by 4.5% in February, the report noted.