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Unemployment in northeast B.C. rises to 4.8% in August

Both employment and unemployment are down from August 2020
sitec (1)
Construction at the Site C dam. There were There were 20,000 more jobs in the construction sector in August 2021, acccording to Statistics Canada, with nearly all of the gains B.C. and Ontario. (BC Hydro Photo)

Unemployment in northeast B.C. rose to 4.8% in August.

Employment in the region was down by 700 jobs month-over-month from July, according to the latest estimates from Statistics Canada, with 35,900 employed and 1,800 unemployed.

In July, there were 36,600 people employed, and unemployment was too low to be reported due to Stats Canada's confidentiality threshold of 1,500 people.

Year-over-year, both employment and unemployment are down from August 2020, when 37,100 were employed and 2,800 were unemployed.

Still, the region has continued to maintain the lowest unemployment in all of B.C. since last summer.

Unemployment in B.C., August 2021:

  • North Coast and Nechako - 8.8

  • Lower Mainland Southwest - 7.3

  • Kootenay - 6.7

  • Cariboo - 6.2

  • Thompson-Okanagan - 5.4

  • Vancouver Island and Coast - 5.1

  • Northeast - 4.8

Canada gained 90,000 jobs in August, bringing the national unemployment rate to 7.1%. B.C.'s unemployment rate for the month was 6.2%.

"For the third consecutive month, British Columbia was the lone province with employment above its pre-pandemic level," Statistics Canada noted.

Employment was up in August in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, and unemployment is now at its lowest level in Canada since February 2020. 

The biggest gains were in full-time work and the private sector -- 76,700 jobs -- with the biggest driver being hotels and restaurants. There were 20,000 more jobs in the construction sector — an increase of 1.4%.

"Nearly all of the gains were in Ontario and British Columbia," the Statistics Canada noted.

"By sector, the big driver of the gain was hotels (and) restaurants (+74,600), reflecting a more complete re-opening, and a stark difference with the U.S.," BMO noted in its analysis of the StatsCan survey. "Information, culture (and) recreation rose a hearty 23,900, another sector that would have benefited from reopening.

"On balance, the continued decent gains in employment suggest that the recovery was still grinding forward in late summer even in the face of the budding fourth wave and ongoing supply bottlenecks. Employment is now just 0.8% away from returning to pre-pandemic levels."

— with files from Business in Vancouver

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at