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There were 5,100 fewer people in the New Brunswick labour pool in October. The labour pool includes those who are working and those who are looking for work. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

The unemployment rate in New Brunswick dipped more than half a percentage point in October, but not because there are more people working in the province.

Statistics Canada reported Friday that the province's unemployment rate for October stood at 10.1 per cent, down 0.6 percentage points from September.

The decline in the New Brunswick rate was not due to more people working, but due to fewer people actively looking for work.

The monthly report shows there were 2,500 fewer people working in the province in September. But the province's labour force — those who are employed and those who are actively looking and available for work — shrank by 5.1 per cent.

In October, the New Brunswick labour force included 389,600 people. That is about 5,100 fewer people who were either working or looking for work in September.

Opposition politicians said the figures show the provincial economy is worsening under the Alward government.

"With 16 straight months of double-digit unemployment, it is clear that this government has no vision and no plan to grow the economy," said Liberal Leader Brian Gallant. "We are bleeding people to the west because there are no jobs for them here in New Brunswick."

Brian Duplessis, the New Democratic Party's candidate in Fredericton North for next September's election, said "There is nothing to celebrate here."

"The province's unemployment figure only dropped because people gave up all hope of finding work," he said.

Nationally, the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.9 per cent.

Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island are the only provinces with an unemployment rate higher than New Brunswick's last month.