New Brunswick's economy is continuing to sputter with the loss of 5,700 jobs in February, according to Statistics Canada.

The province saw its unemployment rate increase to 9.9 per cent last month, up from 9.3 per cent in January.

New Brunswick lost 5,700 jobs in February, according to the labour force report. Of those, 4,000 were full-time jobs and another 1,700 part-time jobs were lost.

The last time the provincial economy lost this many jobs in one month was April 2014, when 5,500 jobs disappeared.

The number of jobs wasn't the only indicator to take a hit last month.

Joel Richardson

Joel Richardson, the vice-president of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters in New Brunswick, said the province needs to set a goal of seeing the unemployment rate drop to six per cent. (CBC)

The labour force also shrank by 3,600 people. The overall, participation rate, which is the number of adults in the labour force or actively trying to get a job, dropped to 61.7 per cent in February, down from 62.3 per cent.

Joel Richardson, the vice-president for the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters in New Brunswick, said the February jobless numbers should be a wake-up call for people across the province.

"We should never ignore the goal to try and drive our unemployment rate down. We should be setting a target of getting our unemployment rate down to six per cent across the province," he said.

"That needs to come through private sector business growth."

The last time the unemployment rate was close to that level was in January 2007, when the rate was seven per cent.

Call centre jobs not enough

Richardson said the province is struggling with a reduction investment in the resource development sector, which is not being offset by other industries.

"Call centre jobs in different places around the province just aren't making up for all of the losses that we are seeing in our more traditional industries," he said.

"It appears we are losing ground significantly in terms of our ability to get the unemployment rate down."

Northern New Brunswick continues to face the highest unemployment rates.

'A radical departure from what this Liberal government is doing is required because today's job numbers clearly prove their approach to date has been an unmitigated failure.' - Bruce Fitch, interim Tory leader

The Campbellton-Miramichi zone had a 16.5 per cent jobless rate in February, followed by Edmundston-Woodstock's 9.3 per cent.

The unemployment level in Moncton-Richibucto stood at 8.1 per cent, followed by Fredericton-Oromocto at 8.9 per cent and Saint John-St. Stephen at nine per cent.

Interim Progressive Conservative Leader Bruce Fitch said the latest job numbers point to a "full-blown economic crisis."

"I call on the premier to immediately address the New Brunswick public regarding this crisis to inform us all of what he and his government are going to do to not only gain back the 6,000 jobs he has lost, but to create the 5,000 jobs he promised when elected," Fitch said in a statement.

"A radical departure from what this Liberal government is doing is required because today's job numbers clearly prove their approach to date has been an unmitigated failure."

National economy loses steam

The Canadian economy also lost steam in February, according to the labour force report.

The national economy lost an 2,300 jobs in February, and the jobless rate inched up to 7.3 per cent.

British Columbia added jobs last month, while three provinces — Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island — lost. The other provinces saw little change in their employment numbers.