THE NORTHWEST jobless rate has dropped below the double-digit level for the first time in nearly a year.
Figures from Statistics Canada released this morning put the jobless rate at 8.5 per cent, a drop from October’s 10.3 per cent and the 10.5 per cent posted in September.
The drop from October to November, however, does not reflect a huge growth in employment.
Instead, the labour force has contracted from 42,900 in October to 42,400 in November, a drop of 500, at the same time as the number of people working rose by 200, from 38,600 in October to 38,800 in November.
The number of jobless did fall to 3,600 in November from 4,400 in October.
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 rate can reflect how people feel about their own employment prospects.
In November 2011 the jobless rate stood at 7.7 per cent with 48,100 people considering themselves as part of the workforce.
Of that total, 44,400 were working – 5,600 more than is the case today.
Those labeling themselves as jobless stood at 3,700 in November 2011 which was 100 more than is the case today.
The provincial jobless rate for November was 6.2 per cent, marginally better than October’s 6.5 per cent.
That’s because the number of people who placed themselves in the labour market dropped from October to November as did the number of people who considered themselves jobless. Total provincial employment also declined.