New Brunswick’s unemployment rate increased in August to 10.7 per cent as the province’s economy lost about 700 jobs, according to Statistics Canada. That's a half-percentage point above July's 10.2 level.
The province’s jobless rate has held stubbornly above 10 per cent for more than a year. The monthly labour force report indicated 800 full-time jobs were lost in New Brunswick compared to an increase of 100 part-time jobs.
Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Danny Soucy said in an interview on Friday the unemployment rate is still a concern.
"We’re concerned, I’m concerned and we as a government are concerned and that is why we continue to work hard with our different stakeholders so we face these challenges together and change so we have a better economy," Soucy said.
Soucy said he would not predict when he thought the unemployment rate would finally fall below 10 per cent. But he said initiatives, such as the provincial government's One Job Pledge, are helping people find work.
Liberal Leader Brian Gallant issued a statement on Friday criticizing Premier David Alward’s handling of the economy.
"During the last three years, under the Alward government, we have seen every economic indicator of New Brunswick worsen," Gallant’s statement said.
"It is very clear that Premier Alward has no plan to grow the economy or tackle unemployment."
As New Brunswick's unemployment rate rises, the national jobless rate is moving in the opposite direction.
The Canadian economy generated 59,000 jobs in August and that pushed the unemployment rate down 0.1 percentage points to 7.1 per cent.
Regional unemployment rates
The unemployment rate in Moncton was 7.9 per cent in August compared to 7.3 per cent in July.
In Saint John, the jobless rate was 10.5 per cent, down from 10.9 per cent the previous month.
The unemployment rate in northern New Brunswick is still the highest in the province, according to Statistics Canada.
The jobless rate in Campbellton-Miramichi stood at 14.3 per cent in August compared to 14.7 per cent in August 2012.
The unemployment level also reached double-digits in the Saint John-St. Stephen region. The jobless rate in that section of the province was 10.3 per cent in August compared to 9.8 per cent a year ago.
In western New Brunswick, the unemployment level was 9.3 per cent, down from 10 per cent the same time last year in the Edmundston-Woodstock zone.
The largest increase in the unemployment rate came in the Moncton-Richibucto area. The percentage of unemployed workers increased to 8.8 per cent in August from 7.7 per cent last year.
The Fredericton-Oromocto region continues to post the lowest unemployment levels in the province. In August, the unemployment rate was 6.1 per cent, a slight dip from 6.4 per cent in August 2012.