Jobs rate looking up in northwest portion of B.C.

February's unemployment rate listed at 5.5 per cent by Statistics Canada

MORE people were working in the northwest in February than in February last year, indicates jobs information released by Statistics Canada.

The 43,300 listed as working either full or part time in February resulted in an unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent, better than the 8.1 per cent for Feburary 2014 when the number of people working was 37,500.

February’s 5.5 per cent unemployment rate was topped only by the northeast and the Cariboo among the seven regions in B.C. from which statistics are tabulated.

The provincial unemployment rate as a whole was 6.8 per cent with the Thompson-Okanagan having the highest regional unemployment rate at 7.1 per cent.

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

Instead it is based on interviews of people aged 15 and over from the north coast to just this side of Vanderhoof who consider themselves as part of the workforce whether they are employed or not.

In February 45,800 people declared themselves as being part of the labour force, a jump over the 40,700 who made that declaration in February 2014.

Because people can declare themselves part of the labour force or not, regardless if they are working, the monthly statistics can reflect how people feel about their own employment prospects.

The northwest unemployment rate rose to as high as 10.7 per cent in July 2014 before starting to fall to its current level.

In January, the unemployment rate was 4.7 per cent.