THE REGIONAL jobless rate crept up from 7.5 per cent in January to 8.8 per cent in February, indicate latest figures from Statistics Canada.
The February tally of 41,300 people working was down from 42,000 people in January but still slightly better than the 41,200 people working in December 2010.
All told, 45,300 people considered themselves as part of the labour force in February whether they were working or not, a slight drop of 100 from the month before.
These statistics are derived from interviews by Statistics Canada of people over the age of 15 who consider themselves part of the workforce whether they are working or not and apply to the area from the North Coast west to just this side of Vanderhoof. They are not taken from Employment Insurance figures.
The February 2011 figures show an improvement from the same month the year before when the jobless rate was 10.3 per cent and 39,100 people were working.
Although the employment picture has been getting better in the past 12 months, it is not unusual to show a decline in the winter months because of the seasonal nature of employment in the north.
February’s regional jobless rate of 8.8 per cent matched the provincial rate.
The region once had the worst jobless rate in BC approaching the 14 per cent range.
In February, the northwest’s rate was better than that in the northeast and in the Thompson-Okanagan but behind the lower mainland and Vancouver Island.