Northwest BC’s jobless rate remains high

Double digit unemployment remains the order of the day

THE northwest jobless rate continues to run in the double digits, making the employment situation the worst in the province.

Statistics Canada today reported the jobless rate at 11.8 per cent, virtually unchanged from July’s 11.9 per cent and June’s 12.2 per cent for the area running from the north coast to just west of Vanderhoof.

The number of people working has also dropped – to 38,100 in August compared to 38,400 in July at a time when major economic projects are either underway or about to start up.

Last August the jobless rate was 8.7 per cent and there were 44,900 people working.

The northwest was the only region in the province in August to have a jobless rate in the double digits.

Overall, the provincial rate was 6.8 per cent while it was 6.1 per cent on Vancouver Island, 7 per cent in the lower mainland, 4.7 per cent in the Thompson-Okanagan, 7.8 per cent in the Kootenays, 8.6 per cent in the Cariboo and 4.8 per cent in the energy-rich northeast.

This morning’s monthly release of jobless figures follows a provincial cabinet shuffle in Victoria this week in which Premier Christy Clark handed responsibility for skills training to jobs minister Pat Bell.

Bell, who is also in charge of tourism and who was also handed the labour portfolio in the shuffle, has spoken before of the need to increase the training and educational level of northwestern residents to better their chances of finding work.

The figures released this morning are not those of people collecting Employment Insurance.

They’re the product of Statistics Canada interviewing people over the age of 15 and those considering themselves part of the workforce are people with a job or who are looking for work.

People withdraw from the workforce for any number of reasons, not all of which are associated with having a job or not.