FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The unemployment rate in Northeast B.C. has once dropped back below five percent for the first time in nearly three years.

According to data released by Stats Canada on Friday, the unemployment rate in Northeast B.C. in December dropped to 4.6 percent, from 5.3 percent in November. The last time the regional unemployment rate was this low was in April 2015, when the rate sat at 4.7 percent.

Month-over-month there was a drop of 300 full-time jobs from November’s total, while the number of part-time jobs increased by around 100. The rate of employment in the region decreased by 0.3 percent to 66.4 percent, though it is still the highest rate of employment of all economic regions of B.C.

Northeast B.C.’s unemployment rate is identical to the provincial average and is once again the second-lowest in the province. The lowest rate of unemployment in the B.C. was in the Lower Mainland, where only 3.8 percent of the labour force was without work.

Compared to a year ago, the unemployment rate in Northeast B.C. dropped just shy of five whole percentage points, from 10.5 percent in December 2016.