The number of people in the northwest who considered themselves unemployed shrank in January compared to December, indicates data collected by Statistics Canada and released Feb. 4. (Black Press Media file photo)

The number of people in the northwest who considered themselves unemployed shrank in January compared to December, indicates data collected by Statistics Canada and released Feb. 4. (Black Press Media file photo)

Northwest B.C. jobs data sends mixed signals

Employment dips, but so did number of people who consider themselves unemployed

The number of people in the northwest who considered themselves unemployed shrank in January compared to December, indicates data collected by Statistics Canada and released Feb. 4.

There were just 1,900 people who counted themselves as part of the labour force and looking for work in January compared to 2,800 people in December.

But in a mixed economic signal for the region, total employment did drop over the two months, from 42,900 in December to 42,400 people in January.

That could very well be a reflection of the enhanced lockdown measures enacted by Northern Health and provincial health authorites in the latter stages of 2021 in response to an increase in the COVID case count.

In all, the complete labour workforce, which includes people who consider themselves as part of the labour force whether working or not, fell from 45,600 people in December to 44,300 people in January.

But when the number of people not working is compared to the workforce number, Statistics Canada states the unemployment rate for January was 4.3 per cent, one of the lowest such rates in years.

The information taken by Statistics Canada is based on interviews of people aged 15 and over and is not taken from employment insurance data.

The statistics cited are from information collected from the north coast east to just this side of Vanderhoof.

Provincial jobs minister Ravi Kahlon said B.C.’s overall jobs figure showed resilience in that employment rose by 4,200 jobs.

“For the first time since the pandemic began, B.C.’s unemployment has returned to 5.1 per cent, officially reaching the pre-pandemic level of February 2020. This is the lowest unemployment rate in Canada,” he said.

 

The number of people in the northwest who considered themselves unemployed shrank in January compared to December, indicates data collected by Statistics Canada and released Feb. 4. (Black Press Media file photo)

The number of people in the northwest who considered themselves unemployed shrank in January compared to December, indicates data collected by Statistics Canada and released Feb. 4. (Black Press Media file photo)