Northwest B.C. jobless rate inches up

The number of people who listed themselves as unemployed rose from 2,500 in December 2013 to 2,800 in January 2014

THE number of people working in January 2014 in the northwest dropped from December 2013 but so did the number of people who considered themselves part of the labour force.

Based on Statistics Canada data, there were 36,900 people working in January, a decline from the 38,400 working in December.

But the available labour force also dropped, from 40,900 in December to 39,700 in January.

The workforce total contains those who are working as well as those who consider themselves part of the labour market and are looking for work.

It can be taken as a sign about how people feel about the economy and about their employment prospects.

The number of people who listed themselves as unemployed rose from 2,500 in December to 2,800 in January.

The result was an unemployment rate of 7.1 per cent, more than the December rate of 6.1 per cent.

By way of a yearly comparison, there were 39,700 people working in January 2013 with a total labour force of 42,900.

The unemployment rate then was 7.5 per cent and there were 3,200 people who considered themselves as unemployed.

The provincial unemployment rate was 6.5 per cent with 2,291,700 people saying they were working.

The Cariboo posted the lowest jobless rate of the regions within B.C. at 5.5 per cent followed by Vancouver Island at 6 per cent while the Thompson-Okanagan had the highest rate, 8.4 per cent.

Across Canada, employment rose by 29,000 in January, the result of an increase in full-time work. The national unemployment rate declined 0.2 percentage points to 7 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.