Bell downplays job losses
Though there were about 16,000 job losses last month in the province, the employment rate is at 6.3 per cent and the province remains on solid economic ground, according to MLA Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism, Innovation and Skills Training.
“The interesting month we just come out of really demonstrates the economic volatility we are seeing globally now,” Bell said. “There have been big shifts in unemployment increases in terms of gains and losses in B.C. Unemployment declined to 6.3 per cent. Despite the fact we had a job loss this month, this is still a relatively low unemployment rate.”
Bell added most of the job losses were part time, following the trend of residents moving from part to full-time employment.
He said overall youth unemployment dropped by .2 per cent.
Of the job losses, he said 6,900 were in the construction sector. Likely, he said, this is a seasonal anomaly, and people will see a positive change in the future. In health care and social assistance there were 13,200 jobs lost.
The average wage is up to $24.28 per hour, the third highest in Canada.
“Year over year there have been good job gains,” Bell said.
He said the movement in job numbers month over month is tied to the fiscal cliff in the U.S. and challenges in the European Union. The volatility, he said, demonstrates the world has not settled yet in term of economics.
Locally, the economy continues to remain strong with about a 4.5 per cent unemployment rate.
“That’s a far cry from the 1990s when it was in the double-digit rate,” Bell said, adding the city is acting as the economic hub of northern B.C., supplying regional developments with a range of goods and services.
And though there was a loss provincially, he said overall things are still positive.
“We’ve lost 16,000 but we’re still up about 27,000. There is real volatility in the global marketplace. Now is the time to stick to what we really do well. 6.3 per cent is a very low unemployment rate. B.C. has performed very well in spite of the global uncertainty. The numbers tell me we have real volatility out there so we have to stay on focus.”