New Brunswick's economy adds 2,100 jobs in March
Unemployment rate drops to 10.1% last month from 10.4% in February
New Brunswick's unemployment rate dropped to 10.1 per cent in March as the economy added 2,100 jobs, according to Statistics Canada.
The province's labour force also grew by 1,100 people last month.
But the number of jobs in New Brunswick over the same period last year was down by 4,400, the figures show.
That is the second largest year-over-year decline in the country, behind only Newfoundland and Labrador, at 6,200.
October losses focus of debate
Liberals and Progressive Conservatives squabbled in the legislature Friday over whether the job numbers show New Brunswick is moving forward or backward — with comments centred around who should take responsibility for a significant loss of jobs last October.
Progressive Conservative finance critic Blaine Higgs told reporters that despite gaining jobs in March, the numbers show the province has lost 1,900 full-time jobs and experienced an increase in its unemployment rate since last September's election — much of that caused by losses suffered in October.
"The overall stats are down," said Higgs.
But Premier Brian Gallant says since his government wasn't sworn in until October, that month and its dismal numbers belong to the Tories.
Since October, full-time jobs are up by 1,800, with part-time jobs increasing by a further 700, said Gallant.
"We're very pleased to see that jobs were created in the last month. We're also very pleased to see there's been significant economic growth since we've taken office," he said.
Canada's economy, meanwhile, added 28,700 new jobs in March.
Statistics Canada reported that most of the job gains were in part-time work.