Ontario gained almost 41,000 jobs in April despite losses in the manufacturing sector, but the unemployment rate didn't budge because the labour force grew at the same pace.

As a result, Ontario's unemployment rate remained at 8.8 per cent, Statistics Canada reported Friday.

Nationally, almost 109,000 new jobs were created, but the national unemployment rate dropped marginally to 8.1 per cent in April from 8.2 per cent in March.

Ontario had the largest absolute jump in jobs, but the rise is approximately in keeping with the province's proportion of the country's population.

Of the jobs gained in Ontario, 17,800 were full-time and 22,700 were part-time. There were an estimated 6.6 million Ontarians with jobs in April.

Statistics Canada noted that Ontario has picked up 109,000 jobs since July 2009.

An analysis by TD Economics noted that nationally, manufacturing lost 21,000 jobs in April. "The industry has yet to record any improvement in employment since the labour market recover began in July," wrote economist Diana Petramala.

In Ontario, manufacturing actually lost 23,000 jobs in April despite the overall job gain, she told CTV News, adding most of the job gains came in services.

Since July, manufacturing has only gained back about 3,000 jobs even though manufacturing output has been surging and trade has helped overall job growth, she said.

"It's been volatile. There's been some gains, but they've pretty much all been lost," Petramala said.

In comparison, construction has added 50,000 jobs in Ontario since last July, mainly due to a strong housing sector and government spending on infrastructure, she said.

Both construction and manufacturing got hammered in the downturn. The goods-producing sector of the economy accounted for about six out of every seven jobs lost in Ontario during the 2008-09 recession, Petramala said.

At some point, manufacturing employment has to start rising, she said.

Some auto companies have announced plans to add new shifts later this year as consumer demand picks up for new automobiles.

However, if the housing sector cools and the public sector starts to rein in spending, that could harm employment growth in the coming months, Petramala said.

Here are the April unemployment rates for selected Ontario cities (the March rate is in brackets):

  • Toronto - 9.5 per cent (9.4)
  • Hamilton  -7.7 (7.9)
  • Kingston - 5.9 (6.0)
  • Kitchener - 9.0 (9.6)
  • London - 8.8 (9.3)
  • Oshawa - 9.6 (10.3)
  • Ottawa - 6.0 (6.1)
  • St. Catharines-Niagara - 9.3 (10.4)
  • Windsor - 12.6 (12.2)

With files from The Canadian Press