Northwest BC workforce declines

But so does the number of people available for employment

SEASONAL employment conditions were reflected in December 2013’s jobs total for the northwest compared to November 2013.

Based on Statistics Canada data, there were 38,400 people working in the region in December, a drop from 40,000 in November.

But if the number of people working dropped, so did the available workforce from 42,100 in November to 40,900 in December.

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.

The number of people who considered themselves unemployed crept up from 2,100 in November to 2,500 in December.

As a result, the unemployment rate rose in December to 6.1 per cent from 5 per cent in November.

Despite the increase, the overall jobs picture in the northwest is brighter given that the unemployment rate in December 2012 was 8.2 per cent.

But the number of people who considered themselves part of the workforce, whether employed or not, was also higher in December 2012 and the number of people who were unemployed was also higher.

The northwest’s December 2013 jobless rate was the fourth lowest of any region in BC, behind the lower mainland’s 5.7 per cent, the 4.5 per cent in the Cariboo and the 4.7 per cent in northeastern BC.

In BC overall, the number of people working in December increased by 16,000 over November.

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.