Recent History – 2000
Jan. 14, 2000, By Christine Podmore, Daily News staff
Northeast B.C.’s average unemployment rate for 1999 is 8.4 per cent, up from 3.7 per cent in 1998, but the monthly rate has been dropping steadily after reaching a high in July.
Provincially the numbers are more encouraging. Mike Farnwortn, B.C. Employment and Investment minister, credits the revival of B.C.’s economy for the positive change.
“Not only did we see solid employment growth in 1999, but we also saw a 0.6 decrease in our unemployment rate to 8.3 per cent,” Farnworth said. “Our economy is clearly recovering from the Asian flu and low commodity prices, and we are seeing the benefits of that recovery in the B.C. job market.”
Finance Minister Paul Ramsey believes better times are around the corner.
“British Columbia’s economy started to pick up in 1999, and the increase in employment and the declining unemployment rate reflect this improvement,” Ramsey said.
According to Statistics Canada, the northeast’s unemployment levels fluctuated throughout 1999. The lowest rate was in January at 4.9 per cent and the highest the region saw was 10.7 per cent in July and August.
Last month’s rate was 7.9 per cent, up a little from November’s 7.4 per cent.
In 1998 numbers reached a high of 4.4 per cent in December, with a low of 2.9 per cent in April.
The average annual jobless rate for the entire province was 9.0 per cent in 1998 and 8.3 per cent in 1999.
Ramsey says B.C.’s recovery is broadening. Exports and manufacturing shipment strength is flowing into the domestic economy. Retail profits are rising and merchants reported a good Christmas season.
The help-wanted index has been rising since May, and housing starts have begun to pick up.
The provincial government is expecting gross domestic products to rise 1.9 per cent in 2000 and 2.6 per cent next year with forecasters optimistic about the world economy.