Canada's unemployment rate remained unchanged in May at 6.1 per cent as the economy churned out only 8,400 new jobs, according to Statistics Canada.

Full-time jobs actually fell in May by 32,200 but part-time employment rose by 40,600.

Despite a slowdown in employment growth, the participation rate in the workforce -- people who are employed or looking for work -- remained at its record high of 68 per cent in May.

Women, aged 25 and over, entered the labour market in large numbers last month.

Employment grew by 35,000 for this group but was unchanged for men in the same age group.

Quebec saw the strongest employment growth in May with 17,900 jobs added.

However, with an increase in the number of Quebecers in the labour market, the province's unemployment rate continued to hover around 7.5 per cent.

Manitoba and New Brunswick both saw declines in employment growth.

Employment in Alberta has increased 3.3 per cent in the past year -- the strongest growth rate in Canada.

In a surprise rebound, the hard-hit manufacturing sector gained 34,200 jobs -- mostly in Quebec and Ontario.

Still, the Statistics Canada report notes that the sector has lost 344,000 jobs since November 2002.

Heath care and social assistance added employment in May while agriculture and professional, scientific and technical services recorded losses.

In the past year, employment in Canada has risen by 339,000, or 2 per cent.

Here's a provincial breakdown of the unemployment rate (previous month in brackets):

  • Newfoundland 12.5 (13.2)
  • Prince Edward Island 9.6 (11.2)
  • Nova Scotia 8.2 (7.8)
  • New Brunswick 8.9 (8.3)
  • Quebec 7.5 (7.6)
  • Ontario 6.4 (6.3)
  • Manitoba 4.2 (3.8)
  • Saskatchewan 4.1 (4.3)
  • Alberta 3.6 (3.3)
  • British Columbia 4.5 (4.3)