Today’s Poll

Unemployment continues to climb in the region, with rate third highest in B.C.

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
July 11th, 2023

 

The unemployment rate for the Kootenay region has been steadily climbing since the start of the year and now sits above the provincial and national rates, according to recent figures released by Statistics Canada.

The percentage for known unemployed people in the Kootenay region — which includes West and East Kootenay, as well as Nelson, Castlegar, Trail and Grand Forks — was 5.7 per cent in June, according to Statistics Canada latest figures, up from 5.5 per cent in May.

That rate is the third highest in the province, behind the Cariboo (eight per cent) and North Coast and Nechako (6.1 per cent). Vancouver Island and the Coast was the lowest at 4.4 per cent.

The new figures eclipse the 3.9 per cent from one year ago, with 82,300 people working and 5,000 looking for work out of a population of 142,000 — it rises well above the rate of 3.3 per cent from one year ago.

At the same time last year, 84,600 people had jobs and 2,900 were trying to find them, while the population stood at 140,700.

Nationally, the unemployment rate rose to 5.4 per cent from 5.2 per cent, despite an increase in jobs of 60,000, driven by gains in full-time work. According to StatsCan, the biggest increases were seen in male age bracket of 15 to 54 years old.

In job sectors, employment rose nationally in wholesale and retail trade, manufacturing, health care and social assistance and transportation and warehousing but went down in construction, educational services and agriculture.

StatsCan released the average hourly wage for working Canadians, noting that it rose 4.2 per cent to $33.12 following an increase of 5.1 per cent in May.

 

Across the province

B.C.’s economy as a whole is holding steady with a decrease in part-time jobs in June and an increase in full-time jobs

“In June, we had more jobs added in the manufacturing and health-care sectors, which is good news, following B.C.’s investment of $10 million for Massive Canada’s new mass-timber products manufacturing facility in Williams Lake, creating 70 new jobs. The B.C. Manufacturing Jobs Fund is investing $180 million in grants to high-value industrial and manufacturing projects,” said Brenda Bailey, minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation, in a press release.

B.C.’s unemployment rate is at 5.7 per cent, which is fourth-lowest among all provinces, but above the historic low in winter.

“This means businesses are seeing more applicants for their vacant positions,” said Bailey.

B.C.’s average hourly wage of $34.21 is third-highest in the country, and year-over-year growth of seven per cent leads all large provinces. 

“While the national inflation rate dropped to 3.4 per cent, we continue to make sure more people receive more money to help with bills and other day-to-day expenses through changes to the Climate Action Tax Credit,” said Bailey.

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