MONCTON, N.B. -- Moncton is being recognized as No. 1 on the list of the strongest job markets in the country, according to a labour market report card.

The report finds Moncton as the city that has lost the fewest jobs during the pandemic.

"One, New Brunswick has done relatively well in terms of reopening the economy, so we're a little bit ahead of the curve," said John Wishart of the Greater Moncton Chamber of Commerce. "Secondly, heading into the pandemic, greater Moncton's unemployment was only around five per cent. So going from five to just over nine, is not so bad."

The executive director of Downtown Moncton Centre-Ville is part of a recovery task force that conducted a survey at the beginning of June to find out how many people would be back to work.

Forty per cent of businesses responded from the downtown area.

"Approximately 60 per cent of them said that they felt that their workers would be back to work by the end of June," said Anne Poirier Basque.

One of those businesses is a cafe in the downtown core, which was bustling with customers on Monday.

"We expect a little bit slower than this, but after we reopened, we're catching up maybe 75 to 85 per cent," said owner David Shin.

Aside from Moncton ranking No. 1, other East Coast cities like St. John's and Halifax also placed in the top 10 city labour market performances. Saint John, N.B., came in at No. 16.

"Trucking and logistics, that's still happening, we still need to move goods," Wishart said. "Finance and insurance, that's big in Moncton, so also a big factor -- and even the call centres to a certain extent could work remotely."

Monctonians say they're pleased to see the region leading the pack nationally and withstanding the storm of COVID-19.