Little change in northwest B.C. jobless rate

THE northwest economy may be on an upswing but unemployment remains stubbornly high among people who live in the region.

Fewer people were working in the northwest in April than in March, reports Statistics Canada today.

The drop from 39,500 in March to 39,200 in April continues a monthly trend so far this year.

At the same time, the number of people considered jobless fell slightly from 3,500 in March to 3,400 in April, sufficient to shave the unemployment rate from 8.2 per cent in March to 8 per cent in April.

And the labour force, defined as those who are working and those who are not working but considered themselves as part of the labour force dropped from 42,900 in March to 42,600 in April.

The decline in employment and in the labour force this year stands in contrast to April 2012 when there were 40,000 people employed, 800 more than was the case this April.

But there were also more people unemployed last April as well, pushing the unemployment rate to 11.3 per cent, higher than this April's.

The northwest unemployment rate continues to rank as the highest in the province with the lower mainland at 7 per cent running in second place.

Northeastern B.C. continues to have the lowest unemployment rate, pegged at 5.2 per cent in April. But that's more than last April's 4.2 per cent.

The provincial unemployment rate was 6.8 per cent in April and nationally it was 7.2 per cent.

The northwest jobless rate is not the number of people collecting Employment Insurance.

Instead it is based on interviews of people from the north coast to just this side of Vanderhoof who consider themselves as part of the workforce whether they are employed or not.

And that means the jobless rate can reflect how people feel about their own employment prospects.


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