The Kootenays had B.C.’s biggest drop in unemployment in 2018.
Statistics released by WorkBC show the Kootenays had a 3.1 per cent unemployment rate in December, down from 7.5 per cent in December 2017.
The surge in jobs means the Kootenays went from having the province’s worst unemployment rate at the end of 2017 to its best.
The second-lowest rate is Vancouver Island-Coast (3.6 per cent), followed by North Coast-Nechako (3.8), Mainland-Southwest, which includes Vancouver (4.2), Thompson-Okanagan (4.7), Northwest (4.7), and Cariboo (5.3).
It’s the first time since 2013 that the Kootenays has had a lower unemployment rate than the provincial average, which as of December was 4.4 per cent.
A 2017 labour force survey showed the Kootenays’ largest industry was retail and trade, which accounts for 12.6 per cent of jobs, followed by health care and social assistance (11.4) and construction (9.2).
The B.C. labour market outlook projects 19,700 new positions opening in the Kootenays through 2028 due to retiring workers, with 4,400 more added through economic growth.