WINNIPEG -- A national report on recent job numbers in Canada shows Manitoba's workforce is steadily returning to work, but Premier Brian Pallister wants more to be done, which is why, he said, he is extending support for small and medium-sized businesses.

Statistics Canada released its labour force numbers for July 2020 on Friday. Manitoba is reporting an unemployment rate of 8.2 per cent, down from 10.1 per cent in June.

Nationally, Statistics Canada is reporting Canada’s unemployment rate as 10.9 per cent, down from 12.3 per cent in June.

Following the report's release, Pallister said the province is extending the Manitoba Gap Protection Program application deadline to Oct. 31. The program was previously scheduled to close on Aug. 31.

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Businesses that are not able to get federal support can apply for an immediate $6,000 under the program, the province said.

Pallister said though Manitoba's provincial unemployment rate is the lowest in the country – it is not time for Manitobans to take a victory lap.

"I would say we are not there yet and on behalf of those Manitobans who would like to get back to work, I think it is important to emphasize that," he said.

Pallister said there are more than 34,000 Manitobans who were employed a year ago that are not working right now.

He said for the province's economy to continue to reopen, Manitobans have to continue to follow public health orders and recommendations.

"The success that we had in terms of economic restart is entirely due to our willingness to follow the fundamentals that our public health officials have repeated at infinitum to us and we need to follow those fundamentals," he said.

"We need to follow those fundamentals because health security is necessary for economic recovery these two things are intertwined – they are not separate from one another."