TORONTO (AP) -- Canada added a better-than-expected 27,100 jobs in August, one of the biggest gains since the recession began in the country last fall.
But according to Statistics Canada all of the jobs are part-time.
The agency said Friday that Canada's unemployment rate edged up to 8.7 percent from 8.6 percent in July, as more Canadians began looking for work.
Still, the addition of 27,100 jobs is well above the previous month's 45,000 job retreat. The result also beat consensus expectations of a 15,000 job loss month.
The U.S.-equivalent based on labor market size would be 271,000 jobs gained. The U.S. labor market is about 10 times the size of Canada's.
August, however, saw a continued deterioration of full-time work with 3,500 job losses.
But Canada's private sector added 49,200 workers in August, the first time they have hired more than fired since September.
Royal Bank Chief Economist Craig Wright said the report surprised on the upside and said the labor market appears to be stabilizing.
"Any job is better than no job," Wright said. "I wouldn't think we're finished with the weak employment numbers just yet, but it is consistent with an improving economy."
Statistics Canada noted that while Canada has lost 387,000 jobs since the recession began north of the border in October, only 31,000 of those have come in the past five months.
The bulk of the losses have occurred in manufacturing. The agency noted that employment in construction has stabilized and it has increased in most service industries.
"It just reinforces the view that the recession has ended and that we're in the early stages of a recovery," said Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist with BMO Capital Markets.
Canada's central bank and many analysts think the economy is starting to grow again. Canada has had three straight quarters of gross domestic product decline while the U.S. has had four straight.
While the global crisis didn't originate north of the border it did hit Canada hard. The global sell-off of commodities last fall hurt Canada's resource-rich economy. Alberta's once-booming oil sands sector cooled as every major company scrapped or delayed some expansion plans.
But while the U.S. has seen 81 banks fail in 2009 alone, Canada has not experienced the failure of any major financial institution. There has been no crippling mortgage meltdown or banking crisis north of the border, where the financial sector is dominated by five large banks.