Canada's labour market surprises with biggest one-month jobs gain since 1976

Canada's economy is reporting its biggest one-month employment surge since 1976, when the government started collecting comparable data.

Statistics Canada says the labour market added 106,500 jobs in April, the bulk of which were full time.

The increase helped drop the unemployment rate to 5.7% last month, down from 5.8% in March.

The labour market has seen strong employment numbers since mid-2016 and has remained a bright spot for an economy that has struggled in other areas, to the point it almost stalled over the winter.

Employment grew 0.6% with the April increase, which was the highest proportional monthly expansion since 1994.

A closer look at the April numbers reveals the overall gain was driven by the creation of 73,000 full-time jobs and 83,800 positions in the private sector.

In New Brunswick, the uneployment rate was up one tenth of a percentage point to sit at 8.0% in April.

Statistics Canada says the provincial economy lost 6,400 net full-time jobs, offset slightly by a gain of 2,500 net part-time positions.

(With files from Bell Media's Charles Renshaw)