New Brunswick leads the country for youth unemployment, according to the latest figures from Statistics Canada.
The province's overall unemployment rate jumped to 10.5 per cent in April, as the economy shed 5,400 jobs, the monthly labour report released on Friday shows.
Eighty per cent of the jobs lost were among people under the age of 25, pushing the youth unemployment to 19.5 per cent — the worst among the provinces.
Northern New Brunswick claimed the second highest unemployment rate in the country, behind only eastern Newfoundland.
The communities between Miramichi and Campbellton recorded an unemployment rate of 21.7 per cent during a three-month period ending in April, continuing several years of bad news for the northern part of the province.
Over the last seven years, Statistics Canada has recorded the loss of 16,100 jobs in northern New Brunswick and an eight point increase in the region's unemployment rate.
That's a loss of more than 20 per cent of the jobs that the region had in 2007, which helped trigger a population exodus of 10,700 people, according to the latest numbers.
New Brunswick lost 600 full-time jobs and 4,800 part-time jobs in April, according to Statistics Canada.
The jobless rate in March was 9.7 per cent.
Statistics Canada reported that on a "year-over-year basis, employment in the province was little changed."
The participation rate dropped to 63.2 per cent in April from 63.6 per cent, which means fewer people were looking for work last month.
The jobless rate in New Brunswick's two largest cities also increased in the last month. The unemployment rate in the greater Moncton area hit 6.8 per cent in April, up from 6.4 per cent in March.
Saint John's unemployment rate jumped to 7.3 per cent last month, from 6.8 per cent in March.
Seasonal issue, labour minister says
Labour Minister Jody Carr attributed the rising unemployment rate to seasonal issues.
"Jump in NB April unemployment rate due to late spring start up. Again, need to remain focused, and say Yes to jobs for NB," Carr wrote in a message on Twitter.
Liberal MLA Roger Melanson said the latest labour force report shows the Progressive Conservative government's economic plan is not working.
"Under the David Alward government leadership we are in an economic spiral. We are again in a double-digit unemployment," Melanson said.
"We have lost over 7,000 people since they took office that have moved away from our province. That is critical. You need to have population growth to be able to grow the economy."
The province's unemployment had dipped below 10 per cent from November 2013 to March 2014. That was following a period of 16 consecutive months of double-digit unemployment.
Unemployment levels were the highest in northern New Brunswick.
The jobless rate in the Campbellton-Miramichi zone was 21.7 per cent, compared to 10.7 per cent in Woodstock-Edmundston and 10.3 per cent in Fredericton-Oromocto.
The lowest unemployment rates were found in Saint John-St. Stephen (8.4 per cent) and Moncton-Richibucto (8.6 per cent).
Meanwhile, Canada's economy lost 29,000 jobs in April, but the unemployment rate stayed flat at 6.9 per cent.