Government officials say B.C.’s job growth remains steady with a gain of 600 new jobs last month and a drop in the unemployment rate to 6.5 per cent.
In December 2012, B.C. gained 4,300 full-time positions. The majority of those were in the Vancouver Island and Coast regions. B.C.’s main metropolitan areas, Kelowna reported a gain of 600 jobs and Victoria gained 1,500.
The construction sector continues to experience steady growth, showing strong gains of 14,800 jobs last month. Other areas of job growth include educational services (plus 12,000 jobs) and wholesale and retail trade (plus 6,900).
B.C.’s average hourly wage rate in December was up by 2.2 per cent compared with December 2011. For B.C. youth under 25, the average hourly wage in December was up by 5.8 per cent over last year.
Since December 2011, B.C. has added 19,400 jobs as a result of a gain of 30,800 full-time positions combined with a loss of 11,400 part-time positions. With 19,400 job gains since December 2011, B.C. ranks fourth compared to other provinces, behind Quebec (plus 138,000 jobs), Ontario (plus 100,300 jobs) and Alberta (plus 31,800 jobs).
“We are living in challenging economic times, but government has a solid plan in place to help ensure that B.C.’s economy remains strong and steady and that the province continues to attract new investors and businesses,” said Pat Bell, jobs minister.
“Government continues to invest in infrastructure and programs that will help British Columbians gain the skills they need to take advantage of the many job opportunities available in communities throughout the province.”