FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — After four straight months of decline, the unemployment rate in Northeast B.C. saw an increase last month.
According to statistics released by Stats Canada on Friday, Northeast B.C.’s unemployment rate jumped from April’s low of 5.5 percent to 7.0 percent in May. The number of full-time jobs in the region fell by 1,300 from April to May, while part-time work actually increased by 300 jobs in the same timeframe.
The region’s working age population level has stayed consistent since January at roughly 56,500, while the regional labour force has fallen from a high of approximately 44,600 in February to 41,500 last month. The number of total jobs in this part of the province has also fallen from roughly 40,700 in February to 38,600 in May. Interestingly, the rate of employment in Northeast B.C. has also seen the same trend, trending from 72 percent in the second month of the year to 68.3 percent last month.
Comparing our region to the other regions in B.C., Northeast B.C. now sits with the fifth-lowest unemployment rate, behind Vancouver Island at 4.8 percent, the Lower Mainland at 5.2 percent, and both the Thompson-Okanagan and North Coast-Nechako regions, which tied in 3rd at 6.5 percent. Despite this, Northeast B.C. still has the highest rate of employment in the province. The Lower Mainland and Cariboo regions have the next highest rates, at 63.4 percent and 63.3 percent respectively.
B.C. as a whole saw a gain of 25,800 total jobs last month; 20,500 of those were full-time positions. Despite this, the provincial unemployment rate rose 0.1 percent to 5.5 percent, though the rate of employment increase by 0.6 percent to 61.8 percent. The number of unemployed workers in B.C. increased by roughly 2,600 from April to May, though the provincial population increase by approximately 4,800.
The national unemployment rate also saw a drop from 7.0 to 6.8 percent last month, as nearly 200,000 jobs were added across the country.