Regional unemployment rate drops

But fewer people are working overall

The regional unemployment rate fell from 5 per cent in Nov. 2017 to 4 per cent this November, giving it one of the lowest rates in the province.

But the number of people who removed themselves from the labour force rose from 20,500 in November 2017 to 21,900 this November.

That has an influence on the unemployment rate because it is calculated by the number of people who consider themselves in the labour force whether they are working or not and then comparing it with the number of people who are working.

READ MORE: No end in sight for B.C. labour shortfall: study

The figures for this region, which stretches from the north coast to just this side of Vanderhoof, are not taken from those collecting employment insurance but by Statistics Canada interviews of people 18 years and older.

Because people can declare themselves part of the labour force, regardless of if they are working, the monthly statistics can reflect how people feel about their own job prospects.

This region’s official unemployment rate is higher than the 3.7 per cent on Vancouver Island and the 3.9 per cent on the Lower Mainland but does match the provincial average for November.

The Thomspon-Okanagan and the Cariboo share the highest rate — 4.9 per cent — among the regions in the province with the Kootenays coming in at 4.1 per cent and the Northeast at 4.3 per cent.

Overall, the employment picture is brighter than in 2015 and 2016 when it hovered in the 7 and 8 per cent range.

Nationally, November’s rate was 5.6 per cent, with Statistics Canada saying employment rose by 94,000 in November, driven by gains in full-time work.

READ MORE: Surge in job growth drives unemployment rate down to new 40-year low

At 5.6 per cent, the rate is the lowest since comparable data became available in 1976, the federal agency added.

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