Greater Victorias unemployment rate dropped from 6.0 per cent to 5.6 per cent in October, as overall employment increased by 1,400 positions from September, according to figures released Friday by Statistics Canada.
In its monthly labour force survey, Statistics Canada noted that over the last 12 months, Victoria has seen its unemployment rate fall by half a percentage point with the addition of 4,400 jobs.
The labour force in Victoria increased by 1,800 people over the last year.
That doesnt surprise Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO Bruce Carter, who pointed out the local economy has been steadily improving.
Our tech sector is doing OK, the education sector is doing great, our marine sector is ramping up, government employment has stabilized with the settling of some contracts and commercial construction is up, he said.
Greater Victorias employment gains in the last year came mainly in the service sector. There were 6,400 more people employed in health care and social assistance, 1,800 more in education and 1,800 more in finance, insurance and real estate, compared with October 2011.
The region saw job losses over the same period in accommodation and food services, which dropped 3,500 positions, while construction shed 2,700.
The month-to-month numbers for the rest of the province were not as rosy as Victorias the province has shed 10,900 jobs since September. B.C.s unemployment rate improved to 6.7 from 7.0, but the labour force contracted by 18,600 people, who either retired or stopped looking for work.
Overall, Im not happy with the month, but over the past 14 months, were still in good shape, said provincial Jobs Minister Pat Bell.
In a conference call with reporters, Bell noted that B.C. has added 46,500 jobs since the governments Jobs Plan came into effect 14 months ago, and questioned Statistics Canadas numbers for October.
When we dip into the numbers, we see the largest drop is in manufacturing, he said, noting Statistics Canadas figures show that sector dropping 8,300 positions in October from September. Im not sure there isnt an anomaly that appears large.
Bell said he hasnt heard of any manufacturers closing facilities or curtailing production since September. He noted Statistics Canada calls about 6,000 households in B.C. to gauge employment and extrapolates for the entire labour force of 2.5 million when it does the survey each month.
We need to look further into those job losses, he said.
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