The number of people working in the northwest increased in May from April, says Statistics Canada in its latest employment release.
There were 39,700 people working in May in the area from the north coast to just west of Vanderhoof, an increase of 500 from April’s figure of 39,200 people.
The May increase comes close to the 39,500 people who were working in March.
And the 3,300 people considered jobless in May was a slight drop from the 3,400 considered jobless in April.
The May jump in employment combined with the fall in jobless was enough to place the unemployment rate at 7.7 per cent, below April’s eight per cent and March’s 8.2 per cent.
The number of May workers at 39,700 matched exactly the number of people working last May.
But there were 5,200 people considered jobless in May 2012, enough to post an unemployment rate of 11.6 per cent.
May’s northwest unemployment rate may have dropped below eight per cent but it was still the highest in the province.
The Thompson-Okanagan and Lower Mainland came close at seven per cent while the Cariboo had the lowest unemployment rate – 5.5 per cent.
The provincial unemployment rate was 6.8 per cent in May.
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.