Unemployment rate keeps climbing in Northeast B.C.

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — TD Bank’s Deputy Chief Economist, Derek Burleton, commented on the latest jobless numbers from Statistics Canada which showed the unemployment rate in B.C. climb in the final month of 2015.

This, despite the fact, the national jobless rate last month was again 7.1 per cent — unchanged from November — but the B.C. rate jumped to 6.7, half a percentage point.

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Stats. Can. also points to a slide in resource sector jobs, due to a further drop in the price of crude oil and that’s reflected in the BC Stats numbers for this area.

The Northeast region unemployment rate jumped to 7.6 per cent from seven per cent in November, and was the latest increase in a dismal calendar year for the region, which saw the rate steadily increase — with about a two per cent jump in the last three months alone.

In fact, the Northeast finished the year with the highest December rate among the seven regions of the province, passing the Cariboo, which topped the regional list the previous month at 7.1 per cent.

In December, that region registered only a slight increase to 7.2 percent, leaving the Thompson/Okanagan at 7.3, the second highest rate in the province.

Here in the Northeast, the high end rate status, is a rude reminder of the oil and gas industry downturn, and last month was the eighth one in a row, the local rate was 5.5 per cent or higher, after ten consecutive months, of below five per cent, including five straight, below four percent.

However, despite the increase B.C.’s December rate is the same as the one in Ontario and lower than all the other provinces except Saskatchewan and Manitoba at 5.5 and 5.9.

In addition, Mr. Burleton notes this province ended the year as the top job generating province in the country, with a year-over-year employment growth of 2.3 per cent.

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