New Brunswick’s jobless rate dipped to 9.7 per cent in March, fuelled by strong growth in part-time jobs, according to Statistics Canada.

The economy added 5,200 part-time jobs last month, even as 2,000 full-time jobs were lost, and that pushed the unemployment rate down to 9.7 per cent from 9.8 per cent in February.

This is the fifth consecutive month the province’s unemployment rate has held below 10 per cent. Previously, the jobless rate had been stuck above 10 per cent for 16 straight months.

In the last two months, New Brunswick has gained 8,000 part-time jobs and lost 3,000 full-time jobs.

In the last year, the provincial economy has added 5,600 jobs, 2,100 full-time jobs and 3,500 part-time jobs.

New Brunswick's unemployment rate is lower than the 11.6 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador and 11.8 per cent in Prince Edward Island.

Nova Scotia has the lowest jobless rate in Atlantic Canada at 9.3 per cent. However, Nova Scotia lost 3,400 jobs in March and had its unemployment jump by 0.4 percentage points.

Meanwhile, Canada's economy added 43,000 jobs in March. The country's unemployment rate dropped by 0.1 percentage points to 6.9 per cent.