FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. –  Northeast B.C.’s jobless rate slightly rose to 5.8 per cent in October.

The region had 36,000 employed in October and 2,200 unemployed.

Last year, there were 39,400 employed in October, and the region had a 5.5 per cent unemployment rate.

The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) released its annual report, which states job loss in the region has been mainly among full-time positions.

Ben Sander, a partner at Sander Rose Bone Grindle, says the decline in the region’s unemployment rate has masked certain trends.

“Employment in Northeast B.C. is down over the past year and 3,100 residents left the labour force,” said Sander in a release.

“The sustained decline in labour participation is troubling as our region has relied on its robust working age population to drive the economy.”

The exit of individuals from the workforce has created a challenge for businesses looking to hire, notes Sander.

He says this is “particularly in the service sector whose workforce declined significantly over the past year. Conversely, gains in the construction industry workforce helped offset some of the job losses.”

B.C.’s unemployment rate fell to 5.6 per cent.

On Friday, Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, issued a statement about October’s labour force survey.

“The Labour Force Survey for October solidifies B.C.’s position as leading Canada’s economic recovery with another 10,400 jobs added throughout the province last month.”

“B.C. has the second-lowest unemployment rate in the country at 5.6 per cent, and we continue to lead all provinces with a job recovery rate of 101.9 per cent. There are now 51,000 more British Columbians employed than at the start of the pandemic – that’s a direct result of people, businesses and communities working together to get through these tough times.”

Nationally, the jobless rate dropped to 6.7 per cent, after 31,000 jobs were added in September.