Northwestern B.C. jobs tally remains steady

Very slight improvement shown in February compared to January

THE NORTHWEST B.C. jobs rate remained steady in February compared to January, reports Statistics Canada.

February’s figure of 39,800 jobs was a slight increase of 100 jobs compared to January’s 39,700 jobs.

The number of unemployed people remained the same at 3,200, making for an unemployment rate of 7.4 per cent in February compared to 7.5 per cent in January.

In all, 43,000 people considered themselves part of the labour force in February whether they were working or not compared to 42,900 in January.

February’s jobless rate was the second highest of any region in B.C. but still better than the February 2012 jobless rate of 12.2 per cent.

Northeastern B.C. had the lowest jobless rate, 4.1 per cent, and the provincial average was 6.5 per cent.

In February 2012, 46,800 people considered themselves part of the northwest labour force with 41,200 actually working and 5,700 listing themselves as unemployed.

Statistics Canada says that following a decline in January, employment in British Columbia increased by 20,000 in February.

As more people participated in the labour force, the unemployment rate remained at 6.3 per cent, says the federal agency.

Compared with 12 months earlier, employment in the province was little changed.

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.