THE NORTHWEST BC employment picture continues to brighten slightly with 39,700 people working in January 2013, an increase over the 39,200 figure for December 2012.
In all, 42,900 people in January considered themselves part of the labour force whether they were working or not, a rise from the 42,700 figure the month previous.
The employment increase was sufficient to drop the jobless rate to 7.5 per cent in January compared to December 2012’s rate of 8.2 per cent and November 2012’s rate of 8.5 per cent.
The number of unemployed dropped to 3,200, better than December 2012’s 3,500 figure and the 3,600 tally for November 2012.
January’s jobless rate was enough to pull the northwest out of its traditional last place spot among regions in the province.
That distinction now belongs to the Kootenays which had a jobless rate for January of 7.8 per cent.
Across BC, employment fell by 16,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was 6.3 per cent, reports Statistics Canada.
With this decline, employment in the province returned to a level similar to that of 12 months earlier.
In percentage terms, the northwest’s January 2013 jobless rate of 7.5 per cent is better than the January 2012 figure of 11.6 per cent.
But back in January 2012, the labour force of people who were either working or looking for word stood at 47,600 and there were 42,000 people actually working, 2,300 people more than this January.
Nationally, following two months of gains, employment decreased slightly in January by 22,000 people.
A decline in the number of people looking for work across Canada pushed the unemployment rate down 0.1 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 rate can reflect how people feel about their own employment prospects.