Unemployment rate for Kootenay region drops, but economy continues to lag

·2 min read

Although the region’s unemployment figure has dropped since last year the rate of putting people back to work in the Kootenay has begun to lag behind the rest of the province.

In October the percentage of unemployment fell to six per cent, from 7.8 per cent one year ago. But, instead of having the fourth lowest regional unemployment rate in the province like it did in 2020, it now has the fourth highest.

Although it is higher than the provincial average of 5.6 per cent, Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey stated, the province as a whole has the second lowest provincial average in Canada.

Unemployment rate

The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed persons expressed as a percentage of the labour force.

The unemployment rate for a particular group (for example, age, sex, marital status) is the number unemployed in that group expressed as a percentage of the labour force for that group.

Source: StatsCan

But the telling tale of the sluggish economy in the Kootenay region is in the job-recovery rate, in which the region is near the bottom.

The B.C. job-recovery rate regionally is led by the Thompson-Okanagan at 107.6 per cent, followed by Prince George at 107.1 per cent, Vancouver Island at 105.8 per cent, Cariboo at 105 per cent, Lower Mainland at 101.9 per cent, Vancouver at 101.4 per cent, the Kootenay at 100.3 per cent and North Coast-Nechako at 100 per cent.

The provincial job-recovery rate is 101.9 per cent, the highest in Canada.

Across the province the B.C. economy added 10,400 jobs in October, meaning 51,000 more people are employed now than at the start of the pandemic.

Rate fluctuation

It’s never one reason why the unemployment rate rises or falls and its not only directly related to a change in the number of job seekers.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the rate of unemployment may also be affected when there is a change in the size of the labour force, pushing the percentage one way or another when a calculation is made.

As well, if people have looked for work for too long and found nothing suitable they become discouraged and stop looking, leaving the labour force, decreasing it in size. Those people are no longer counted as unemployed. This fact downplays the labour market’s weakness.

Even in an era of recovery there can be high unemployment despite an increase in jobs as more people begin the look for work and to re-enter the workforce.

Source: Economic Policy Institute

Timothy Schafer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Nelson Daily

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