Canada’s economy kept shrinking in February, but the rate of deterioration slowed sharply for the month after huge job losses and output declines since last fall.

The 0.1 per cent GDP drop for February followed downward jolts of 0.7 per cent in January, one per cent in December and 0.7 per cent in November.

While Statistics Canada reported Thursday that the country’s total economic output was down 2.3 per cent from February 2008, the decelerating devastation prompted some optimism.

“Following an incredibly intense three-month plun­ge in Canadian output from November to January, the mild February decline seems like a relief — a version of ‘been down so long, it feels like up’ to the economy,” commented BMO Capital Markets economist Douglas Porter.

“While by no means out of the woods just yet, the deepest declines for the economy increasingly look like they are behind us.”

In fact, it was the seventh consecutive month of deterioration in gross domestic product and Statistics Canada noted that economic activity has slumped 2.4 per cent since October.