by Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on Monday March 13 2023
If you were looking for a job last month chances are it wasn’t in the Kootenay region.
Despite numerous “for hire” window advertisements in downtown Nelson, the ability to put people to work in the city and the surrounding region led the province in February with a 2.9 per cent unemployment rate.
With the lowest rate in the province — 83,300 people were working and 2,400 looking for work out of a population of 141,300 — it matched the rate of unemployment in December, 2022, but was down from the 5.4 per cent rate from one year ago.
Across the province the unemployment rate for the last month was at 5.1 per cent — down slightly from one year previous (five per cent) — while the national unemployment rate was steady at five per cent.
According to the ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation, B.C. added 6,700 new jobs in February — making a total of 14,400 new jobs being added since the start of 2023.
“We know the global economic headwinds ahead of us — ongoing effects of the pandemic, rising inflation, as well as economic slowdowns — have placed pressure on B.C.’s economy and are presenting real challenges for families and businesses,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation, in a press release.
Overall gains in the national economy show a jump of 22,000 jobs in February, with sectors of the economy such as public administration, utilities, social assistance and health care leading the way.
There was very little movement in the public sector and the self-employed, but there were 39,000 jobs added in the private sector of the economy — mainly in the 55 to 64 age group — with average hourly wages nudging up to $33.16, a 5.4 per cent rise.