OTTAWA -- A surge in part-time work last month helped the Canadian economy add 35,400 net new jobs, a change that nudged the unemployment rate down to 6.6 per cent.

Statistics Canada's latest labour-market survey says the country lost 11,800 full-time positions in January, while it gained 47,200 part-time jobs.

The agency says the country's participation rate last month of 65.7 per cent was unchanged from December, but hovered around its lowest level since July 2000 when it hit 65.6.

The report says natural resources sector lost 8,800 jobs in January amid the global oil slump. The number of jobs in professional, scientific and technical services increased by 22,400 positions.

The number of self-employed people in Canada rose by 41,100 last month, while employee positions across the country dropped by 5,700.

The data says the country added 127,600 jobs over the 12 months leading up to January, a total that included 107,800 full-time positions and 19,900 part-time jobs.

The January unemployment rate was lower than the 6.7-per-cent projection of economists, who had also predicted a net gain of 4,500 jobs, according to Thomson Reuters.

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