Jobless rate dips, job seekers grow

While the unemployment rate in the Kootenays dropped in November, Statistics Canada has noted more people were looking for work.

Although the unemployment rate in the Kootenay region dropped in November, Statistics Canada has noted more people were looking for work in that month.

The national statistical agency set the unemployment for the region at 6.9 per cent in November, compared to 7.7 per cent in October, a drop of almost one full percentage point.

However, the news is far from rosy as the 2012 rate is up .5 per cent from the 6.4 per cent unemployment rate in November of 2011.

And even as unemployment drops the labour force grows and more people are looking for work. Around 1,200 more people were looking for work in November than in October.

Provincial unemployment was up slightly from last month, to 6.8 per cent from 6.7 per cent.

However, B.C. has Canada’s fourth-lowest unemployment rate, trailing Western Canada counterparts Alberta (4.2 per cent), Saskatchewan (4.5 per cent) and Manitoba (5.3 per cent).

Across the province there was a decline in employment, mainly in part-time positions. In November gains were recorded in professional, scientific and technical services (up 11,900 jobs), forestry, fishing, mining and gas extraction (up 8,900 jobs), information, culture and recreation (up 1,900 jobs) and education services (up1,400 jobs).

There have been 29,400 job gains since November 2011, placing B.C. fourth compared to other provinces. Regionally, Vancouver Island gained 2,000 positions, the Kootenays gained 1,700 positions and the Northeast gained 400 positions.

According to the province, B.C.’s average hourly wage rate in November was up by 1.5 per cent compared with November 2011. For B.C. youth under 25, employment increased by 1,700 positions and the average hourly wage in November was up by 6.1 per cent compared with November 2011.

Quick facts:

• The provincial economy measured by real GDP grew by 2.9 per cent in 2011, according to the 2011-12 Public Accounts, third in Canada.

• The estimated investment for all major projects currently under construction—projects ranging from shipbuilding to natural gas, mining to manufacturing and transportation to commercial/residential development—is approximately $80 billion, an increase of $11.7 billion since June 2011.

• Two mines have begun production, one is under construction and three more have received permits with construction expected to start this year. Five mine expansions have been permitted.

• Venture capital investment grew by 71 per cent compared to the same period in 2011, the largest gain in the country.