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Regional unemployment rate jumped to nearly six percent in March

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The unemployment rate in Northeast B.C. jumped 1.2 percent from February to March to almost six percent.

According to data released by Stats Canada on Friday, the unemployment rate in Northeast B.C. sat at 5.7 percent in March, up from 4.5 percent in the second month of the year. Despite the increase in the percentage of the labour force not working last month, the region actually added roughly 500 full-time jobs from the February estimate, while the number of part-time jobs dropped by around 300.

The rate of employment in the region increased by 0.5 percent to 67.9 percent, which is the highest rate of employment of all economic regions of B.C.

Despite the increase, Northeast B.C.’s unemployment rate was the third-lowest of any region in B.C. The lowest rate of unemployment was recorded in the Lower Mainland where only 4.3 percent of the labour force was without work, while the next lowest rate on Vancouver Island was 5.6 percent.

The highest unemployment rate in B.C last month was recorded in the Thompson-Okanagan, where 7.4 percent of the labour force lacked a job. Compared to a year ago, the unemployment rate in Northeast B.C. is actually 0.7 percentage points lower.

The unemployment rate across the province increased for the third consecutive month, to five percent. The provincial rate is 0.7 lower than March 2017, and grew by just a tenth of a percent compared to February. The national unemployment rate increased from 5.9 percent in February to 6.2 percent last month.

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