Unemployment rate stays low

The Kootenay region has the fewest unemployed people in B.C., with an October rate of 3.7 per cent

The Kootenays’ unemployment rate remains at the lowest in the province.

On Nov. 8, BC Stats released labour force statistics for October, which showed that only 3.7 per cent of the Kootenay labour force is unemployed.

In B.C. as a whole, the unemployment rate was 6.5 per cent in October.

The Kootenays are well ahead of the rest of the province in employment. The next closest region is the Northeast at 4.9 per cent, followed by the Cariboo at 5.4 per cent, the North Coast at 5.5 per cent, Vancouver Island at 6 per cent, and the Lower Mainland at 6.8 per cent. Our closest neighbours in the Thompson-Okanagan have the highest unemployment rate at 7.2 per cent.

Across B.C., there are 2,465,900 people in the labour force, which represents 63.7 per cent of B.C.’s population aged older than 14.

Last month, there were more part-time positions available in B.C. (up by 5,600 jobs), but fewer full-time positions (down by 11,000 jobs). Most of the full-time positions were lost in those aged 25 to 54 (12,900).

Jobs in the public sector rose by 13,000 in October, but private sector positions dropped by 13,800.

B.C.’s unemployment rate falls behind Saskatchewan (3.6 per cent), Alberta (4.4 per cent) and Manitoba (5.5 per cent).

Across B.C., positions were gained in the following industries: health care and social assistance (10,300 jobs), educational services (7,500), accommodation and food services (7,200), information, culture and recreation (7,000), construction (1,300), utilities (800), and manufacturing (200).

However, there were job losses in finance, insurance, real estate and leasing (8,600 jobs), professional, scientific and technical services (7,100), and trade (4,400). Interestingly, industries that offer the most positions in the East Kootenay lost positions, too. Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas lost 3,800 jobs, and agriculture lost 1,200 jobs.

The Kootenays’ unemployment rate for October is only slightly higher than it was in September, when it dipped to a low 3 per cent.