The unemployment rate in Canada nudged up a tenth of a percentage point to 5.6 per cent as the economy added 30,300 net new jobs in February, Statistics Canada said Friday, beating expectations for growth amid concerns about the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The agency said the gain was led by Quebec, which posted its third consecutive month of job gains and saw its unemployment rate fall to 4.5 per cent, the lowest level for the province over the past four decades of comparable data.

Overall, the national unemployment rate also hovered near a 40-year low, even as it nudged up slightly as more people looked for work. The agency’s latest labour force survey said most of the gains nationally were in full-time work, where there was an increase of 37,600 positions, while part-time employment declined by 7,300 compared with January.

Economists on average had expected the agency would report an overall increase of 10,000 jobs for February and an unemployment rate of 5.6 per cent, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv.