FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – It turns out BC’s status as the province with the lowest unemployment rate in the country lasted only one month, as Stats. Canada says the BC rate jumped in May to 6.1%, from the celebrated 5.8% percent in April.
That left this province behind both Manitoba and Saskatchewan which went from 6.1% to 5.9%, and 6.3% to 6.0%, respectively.
Still the differential between BC and neighboring Alberta widened even further in May, going from 1.4%, to 1.7%, as the Alberta rate jumped to 7.8%, from 7.2%.
Since the same oil and gas industry downturn factors in Alberta are in play in Northeast BC, the rate in this region exceeded 9.0% for the fourth consecutive month, going from 9.4% to 9.6%.
So the local jobless rate remained more than a full percentage point higher than that of any of the other six regions in BC, even though the North Coast & Nechako registered a big jump to 8.5% from 7.8%.
The lowest BC rates were in the most heavily populated areas with the Mainland/Southwest region at 5.7% , down from 6.0% in April and the Vancouver Island/Coast region down to 5.8% from 6.6%, the lowest it has been since February of last year.
Both those regions also registered declines in their year-over-year rate of about half a percentage point and the only other BC region posting a drop was the Cariboo, which fell to 7.0% from 7.7%.
The Northeast region did register an improvement in its year-over-year differential, going from 4.7% in April, to t3.7% in May, but there was little reason to celebrate since the shrinkage was almost exclusively due to a jump of one point two percent from April to May of last year, from 4.7% to 5.9% percent.
Across the country, six of the ten provinces posted lower rates last month than in April, with Nova Scotia holding steady at 8.3%, resulting in a drop in the national rate from 7.1% in April, to 6.9%.