Skip to content

Northeast B.C. unemployment rises to 5.7% in September

Province records big job gains in educational services, big losses in healthcare

The unemployment rate in Northeast B.C. climbed nearly a full percentage point to 5.7% in September.

Both the job count and the unemployment count are up month-over-month from August, according to the latest estimates from Statistics Canada, with 36,200 employed and 2,200 unemployed.

In August, there were 35,900 people employed and 1,800 unemployed, with the unemployment rate reported at 4.8%.

Year-over-year, both employment and unemployment in the region are down from September 2020, when 38,300 were employed and 2,900 were unemployed. The region's estimated labour force, however, has also shrunk year-over-year, down around 3,000 people from the agency's estimates last September.

The northeast now has the second-lowest unemployment behind Vancouver Island and the Coast at 5.2%, after maintaining the lowest unemployment in all of B.C. since last summer.

Unemployment in B.C., September 2021:

  • North Coast and Nechako - 7.9

  • Lower Mainland Southwest - 7.0

  • Kootenay - 6.5

  • Cariboo - 6.3

  • Thompson-Okanagan - 5.4

  • Northeast - 5.7

  • Vancouver Island and Coast - 5.2

Last month’s return to classrooms delivered big gains to B.C.’s labour market, with the province adding 12,300 jobs in September. The unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points compared with August to land at 5.9%.

The country as a whole added 157,000 jobs in September while Canada’s unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentages points to 6.9%.

“British Columbia was the lone province with employment notably above its pre-pandemic level,” Statistics Canada reported.

B.C. made substantial gains in public administration (+9,000 jobs), while sectors such as healthcare (-13,800 jobs) and wholesale/retail (-3,400 jobs) experienced notable losses. 

Employment in agriculture was up 1,700 jobs, and up 1,400 jobs in natural resource sectors including forestry, fishing, mining, and oil and gas.

Vaccine mandates go into effect for B.C. health-care workers later this month, raising questions over whether more attrition might be ahead.

— with files from Business In Vancouver

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at